No answers on missing police data

More than a week after the Cayman Compass revealed that a massive amount of police data had been corrupted and may have been lost in a hard drive crash, no answers were forthcoming from government regarding the situation.

Deputy Chief Officer for the Ministry of Home Affairs Wesley Howell, whose ministry has oversight responsibility for police financial matters, said he was still seeking clarity on the situation from the government Computer Services Department late Wednesday.

The government has said it intends to issue a full statement on the corrupted data issue as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, it was understood that computer services officials were asking locally operating information technology companies if they had the relevant expertise to recover data lost in the hard drive crash that occurred sometime in May.

The Compass reported last week that five hard drives in a computer server at the government’s Citrus Grove building were affected by the crash. 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.

Mr. Howell, who has been investigating the issue on behalf of the ministry, said last week that Computer Services Department officials were still scanning drives, seeking to determine which police data was corrupted or lost. “It appears data was corrupted on some of the backups,” he said.

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 at the time of this writing.

Police Commissioner David Baines said last week that he had not received a satisfactory answer regarding which police information from the drives was actually missing.

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.

Government officials have said they would consider sending the corrupted drives overseas to expert firms in the U.S., Canada or the U.K. if there was an established need to do so. As of Thursday, no decision had been announced.

The hard drive crashes affecting police data storage were a separate matter from other major issues in the operations of government IT systems that control financial and police data entry, revealed recently by the Compass

Two audit reports completed over the past year outlining significant problems with separate government data management systems were withheld from public release for fear that disclosing them might reveal security weaknesses in the information technology systems.

One report concerning the government’s integrated resource information system, known as IRIS, which is operated by Oracle Financials, was presented to lawmakers a year ago, according to the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s Office. The system is used to keep track of central government departments’ revenues and expenses.

A separate audit, which looked at the then-Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs (now the Ministry of Home Affairs) Sungard OSSI information system, was completed last year by the government’s Internal Audit Unit. An open records request for the report filed in November 2013 by the Cayman Compass was denied.

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