I read with interest Ann Minogue's article "Secret squirrels" (19 September, page 57) in which the disclosure of a database of customers was included in confidential trade information.
The value of a database of customers can often be overlooked.

Today construction companies have databases that may include not only the client and the history of the relationship, but financial information in respect of past and current contracts and future projects. Assessing the damage to a company by the disclosure of a database with this level of confidential information would not be easy. Unless someone came clean how would you know that unauthorised use was made of it, and how would you measure the loss of profit?

How prevalent is the copying of a database? Probably more so than you would care to think.