The HMRC is offering a GBP 20,000 (opens in new tab) reward for the safe return of the two CDROMs which contains the details of 25m child benefit UK claimants.
The offer is the latest (desperate) attempt by the HMRC to recover the precious data after having explored rubbish tips across the capital.
Even if the discs were sent back, it would be meaningless as CDROMs could have been duplicated without any trace and their content shuttled across the internet within hours.
The discs could be worth up to GBP 1.5 billion (opens in new tab) to criminals according to the Acting Lib Dems leader Vincent Cable.
The Treasury Select committee (opens in new tab) found out through the HMRC acting head David Hartnett that there have been a total of seven significant data losses in the past two-and-a-half years.
More embarrassingly, the HMRC revealed that the cost of stripping the data on the lost discs for any confidential and sensitive data before sending it to the National Audit Office would have cost only 0.2p per entry.
The Information Commissioner (opens in new tab) has appealed to public and private sector bodies to come forward and confess whether they have suffered from data losses.