EastEnders Christmas special scripts subject to data loss

The BBC had already taken measures to avoid the Christmas special leaking to the press with EastEnders actors destroying scripts after filming, but it remains to be seen if the BBC had taken steps to protect the information on the stolen laptop against data loss.

The Christmas double bill of EastEnders often captures the soap’s biggest audience of the year, the BBC said.

Data loss highlights importance of encryption

The end point data protection specialist Credant Technologies, said the data loss could “cost the corporation dearly”.

"Whilst it sounds an amusing tale, the fact that the laptop was stolen during a burglary brings the theft of the laptop firmly into focus. It shows that laptop thefts can occur anywhere and at any time - and that companies need to be aware of this issue", said Paul Huntingdon, Credant's UK director.

Huntington warned that if the Christmas plotline of EatEnders is leaked, it could reduce the soap’s viewing figures “almost certainly to the benefit of other broadcasters”.

The data loss could also lead to the scripts being posted on the internet by a third party that could profit from the situation, without any money going to the BBC.

Huntington said that if the data loss had occurred to ITV and the Christmas scripts to Coronation Street or Emmerdale were leaked - this could cost ITV real revenue in advertising terms due to fewer viewers and thereby disgruntled advertisers.

The Credant director said the data loss shows how a failure to encrypt the data on a laptop that is subsequently stolen can have potential direct and indirect revenue consequences.

It is not yet clear whether the stolen laptop containing the EastEnders Christmas scripts was encrypted.

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