Searches continued Thursday for a large amount of apparently irretrievable Royal Cayman Islands Police Service data, with a new revelation that some of the government’s backup drives used to store the information were also corrupted during a major server malfunction.
The Cayman Compass reported Wednesday that five hard drives in a computer server at the government’s Citrus Grove building were affected by a crash sometime in May. The government was able to recover about 4.1 terabytes of data from the 6.5 TB server, but noted another 1.2 terabytes of data were corrupted and apparently could not be recovered locally.
Deputy Chief Officer for the Ministry of Home Affairs Wesley Howell said Thursday that Computer Services Department officials were still scanning drives, seeking to determine what police data was corrupted or lost.
“It appears data was corrupted on some of the backups,” Mr. Howell said.
The Compass learned that several police units, including the Marine Unit, the Joint Intelligence Unit and the commissioner of police’s office, kept data on the Citrus Grove server. However, the specific records held on the corrupted hard drives were still not known by press time Thursday.
Police Commissioner David Baines said he had not received a satisfactory answer regarding what police information from the drives was actually missing.
“I’ve received a fudged response and the answer is basically that ‘we don’t know,’” Mr. Baines said.
Mr. Baines said the Computer Services Department is responsible for routine backup procedures for all civil service agencies, including the police service. The RCIPS does not have its own IT department.
The commissioner was not aware whether any of the corrupted data from the Citrus Grove servers had been backed up.
The government has the option to send the hard drives to the United States, United Kingdom or Canada to assist in recovering the corrupted data. However, Mr. Baines said he wasn’t certain the police should incur such an expense.
“Do I want to spend money to recover operational plans for the Marine Unit two years ago?” he said. On the other hand, if the information involved ongoing police investigations or other sensitive matters, there would be an interest in recovering those, the commissioner said.
RCIPS representatives responding to an open records request filed by the Compass in February revealed the problem with the hard drive crash when information about the request regarding Marine Unit patrol boats relating to the period Jan. 1, 2011, to Feb. 19, 2014, could not be located.