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Thieves in U.K. steal police data server

Server was used to help track movements of terrorism suspects, although data on device is of relatively little value, police say.

One of the private companies that helps police use mobile-phone networks to track terror suspects confirmed on Saturday that a server had been stolen from its office in Sevenoaks, England.

According to police, the data stored on the stolen server was of little value. The company involved, Forensic Telecommunication Services (FTS), says that the data was encrypted.

"In the unlikely event that the server was accessed, none of the data stored on the server in any way compromises ongoing police operations," FTS said in a statement sent to The Mail on Sunday. "The information is made up of either old cases that have passed through the judicial process, or cases that are already in the judicial system and so subject to full disclosure to both defense and prosecution teams."

But Shadow Home Secretary David Davis told The Mail on Sunday that the government considered the case to be "extremely serious."

Because of the sheer volume of forensic computing work undertaken these days, FTS is only one of many companies employed by the government, police forces, private companies and various other public bodies to undertake this work.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.