Halloween films
By Gemma Morris
31st October 2016

If you follow the KDR blog you’ll know we love writing about big data and how it is being used in the real world, whether this is helping beat poverty, preventing fraud or even just making sport more entertaining.

But it is Halloween, so it seems like no better time to take a look at the dark side of data and what happens when the data goes bad!

Here are our top data horror stories:

Data horror stories

Data Quality

Earlier this year a man’s house in Texas was torn down because of a Google Maps GPS error. The demolition workers had relied on Google Maps to take them to the correct address, however Google had the wrong location and the real house was actually a block away.

And what’s really scary is that this isn’t the first time this has happened in Texas!

Data Loss

This one is straight from Hollywood. During the making of Toy Story 2 one of the employees accidentally pressed the remove all button, when they went to the backup drive it turned out it hadn’t been working in months.

Luckily the Technical Director had made a personal backup drive!

Data Leak

One beauty site allowed users to have their email address as their registration with no password, this meant that when someone wanted to check out quickly they could put their email address in and all their personal details would appear.

Seems fine, until someone enters other people’s email addresses and gets their personal details as well.

Data Loss (again)

In 2015 many drivers across the country found themselves having their driving license taken off them for no reason and having to retake their tests. One driver sent his license to the DVLA to update his address and when it returned it was missing his entitlement to ride a motorbike and when he phoned to complain he was told he could lose his full driving license as there was no record of him being able to drive!

It turns out the DVLA’s systems were deleting driver’s records.


Check out IQTrainwrecks.info, run by data expert Daragh O’Brien, they gave us plenty of inspiration for writing this blog and have some real data quality train wrecks!

These are our top data horror stories but there are plenty more out there, and sometimes it’s not just major data fails that scare us, as KDR’s Leon said “receiving a mass-targeted email with the first line as “Hello @FIRSTNAME” always makes me cringe!” 

What are your data horror stories? Do you have any first-hand experiences with “bad data”?

KDR Recruitment is the home of the UK's best Information Management and Analytics jobs. Follow us on LinkedIn to read the latest industry news.


Currently there are no comments. Be the first to post one!

Post Comment


How to spot a bad contract

As specialist recruiters in the information management and data analytics industry we come across plenty of contractors, and contracts. We always make sure our contractors get a fair deal and their contact is correct, however others are not so lucky.... Read More

Growing old robotically

The use of Artificial Intelligence and robotics is increasing throughout the world, it is being used across multiple sectors in multiple industries. The healthcare industry is starting to see a boom in how AI and robots can be used, and... Read More

5 common CV mistakes you should avoid

Your CV is important, it is what stands between you and your future employer. If you don’t have a good CV, you might not get an interview therefore it is essential you get it right. What are the rules for... Read More

Saving nature through the use of AI and Machine Learning

In today’s world it’s easy to get swept up in the cool side of Artificial Intelligence. Whether it be a new Amazon Echo, autonomous cars or perhaps the new Boston Dynamics Robot, which now has the amazing ability to open... Read More

Where should we send our newsletter?