An external hard disk drive containing the details of 100,000 Ministry of Defence Staff has disappeared from a secure location from Hook, Hampshire in the latest and potentially most devastating data lost to date.
The BBC understands that the MoD's main IT contractor, EDS - which has been acquired by HP, stands accused of mishandling the storage device which amongst other details could contain details of nearly 700,000 current and potential recruits - including passport numbers, addresses, dates of birth, driving licence details and bank account records.
Ironically, the disappearance of the hard disk drive was only noticed during an audit of all Government quarters after last November's lost of HMRC CDRoms which contained details of more than 25 million UK Child benefit claimants and to make things more comical, an MoD spokesperson said that the drive is not considered lost or stolen, but merely unaccounted for.
And to add to the MoD's misery, the drive was not encrypted and comes after the Ministry acknowledged having lost more than 650 laptops since 2004 and on average one memory stick per week, with some being lost in nightclubs, plus 50,000 RAF Personnel At Risk After Unencrypted Hard Drives were Stolen from an RAF base.
Of course, other governmental units are not immune to data losses as well: the Home Office One Laptop or Phone per Month on Average In Three Years and MI5 Terrorist Files Disappear After Mini Laptop was Stolen earlier this month.