400,000 Crime Records Deleted - Why So Difficult To Recover?

mosaix

Shropshire, U.K.
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More than 400,000 crime records could have been affected by a data blunder, with records for serious offences supposed to be kept forever accidentally deleted and police fearing criminals may not be caught, a letter from a senior officer reveals.


It would appear that this was a logical deletion of data caused by a coding error rather than a technical fault with the system.

Undoubtedly, the records were stored on some kind of raid array but, I would have thought, that some kind of backup system would have been in place as well. I can't imagine that raid array would have been the only method of security as it's particularly vulnerable to logical faults such as coding errors.
 
It might be as simples as the loss wasn't spotted before the backup was over-written.
 
Why wouldn’t the files be protected (read only?) to stop this from happening in the first place?
 
The down side of new technology is that accidents can happen. A computer goes dead one day. Files gone. Oh well. I have bought a book from the late 1800s that is perfectly readable. I have lost files for various reasons.
 
The down side of new technology is that accidents can happen. A computer goes dead one day. Files gone. Oh well. I have bought a book from the late 1800s that is perfectly readable. I have lost files for various reasons.
This is why I take a paper map when hiking.
 
The problem mentioned seems to be part of the program'
Why wouldn’t the files be protected (read only?) to stop this from happening in the first place?
While users can be blocked from deleting and changing information, the program has write access for inputting data and changing data updating data and hopefully for backup. However it's likely it also has full access in order to function properly so if something went south within the program then it is likely there is no easy way to to prevent that.

Back-u;ps should have been happening. However if the program globally deletes a bunch of data then it all depends on how much backup they keep and how many media they use.

At work we backup to a disk every day--one disk for each day and then there is a weekly disk and a monthly disk. Usually we catch things right away and can fix them with a daily--however once there was a problem that didn't get noticed for two weeks so there was a loss of some data within a two week period.
 
Not to mention the source of the data.

Are they saying that there's no data stored in the forensic labs or any of the other systems that feed into the central system.
 
Back ups tend to be one of the least tested parts of operations. I have seen many systems where it is discovered that the back ups are not happening or that the result is unreadable. There may also be an issue with backlog retention time. If the failure wasn't detected quickly, there may be weeks of backlogs of the deleted system.

I am a little suspicious of a coding error cause records to be deleted. For formal systems development, software is first built and tested on non-production systems. This sounds more like a manual operator error compounded by a lack of continuity of operations practices.
 
I will say that I have in the past rigorously followed a regime of daily incremental, weekly and monthly backups and as an extra precaution - luckily - cloned disks. New 2Tb disks £80 a time every month or so.

Following a subsequently disastrous crash - Hard disk surface fail - I found none of my backups would restore to a virgin system.

As in, everything lost. All the backups for the last two years failed to get me back to where I was.

In the end I had to use the clone, which fortunately was only two weeks out of date.

Most of the stuff that was missing was not too important, but I had to rework two weeks of PCB design and firmware writing which took another week.

After that - I only used cloning - every week with daily file copies on to memory sticks of everything that had changed that day. Rotating the clones weekly using hard drive cartidges.

The thing about a backup system is most people never try to restore from them until after a crash and often that's too late to find it doesn't work.

Also never backup to a different partition on the same drive - Not something I've ever done, but people do.

Nowadays I also use a personal cloud backup device - but I don't use backup software I zip (encrypted) files and copy them to the off site cloud at my house.
 
The point about backups actually being made but never being checked, by @Wayne Mack is also valid. I used to backup my photos but when a computer did the blue screen of death a decade ago, I found the backups were corrupted and the photos were all green. Now I copy everything that is important to me across several different devices. it would unlikely for every one of them to fail at that same time.
 

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