25M Britons' Private Info Lost in Mail

Parliament told addresses, bank data may be in wrong hands
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2007 4:32 PM CST
National Audit Office   ((c) tompagenet)
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(Newser) – Two computer discs containing the personal details of 25 million British citizens are missing, the chancellor of the exchequer told Parliament today. There’s no reason to believe the names, addresses, and bank info were stolen by criminals, but citizens were told to beware of “unusual activity.” Several MPs gasped as they learned info on all UK families with children under 16 was in the open, the BBC reports.

The data disappearance was blamed on junior officials, who didn’t take proper security measures when mailing the discs to the audit office. The chairman of the tax and benefits department quit after the incident, and Conservatives charged this “catastrophic mistake” meant the end of the national ID dream pushed by the Labour Party.