Personal details of more than a million bank customers have been found on a computer sold on eBay.
26 Aug 2008
Information on American Express, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland customers were found on the computer's hard drive.
The data includes names, addresses, mobile phone numbers, bank account numbers, sort codes, credit card numbers, mothers' maiden names and even signatures.
It comes just days after the Home Office admitted confidential information on every prisoner in the country has been lost.
And it was revealed that more than 3,200 laptops and mobile phones containing sensitive information have gone missing or have been stolen from Government departments since 2001.
The latest blunder was discovered by an IT manager who checked the hard-drive of a second hand computer he bought on internet auction site eBay.
Andrew Chapman, 56, from Oxford, said: "I couldn't believe it. In front of me was reams of extremely confidential information about thousands and thousands of people."
The computer was sold by a former employee of archive firm Graphic Data which stores the records of some of Britain's biggest financial organisations at its headquarters in Shoeburyness, Essex. A second computer has also gone missing.
Graphic Data admitted IT equipment had been removed from a security area and said it was seeking to recover it.
NatWest/RBS said they have strict procedures to ensure data security.
"Any breach of these procedures is totally unacceptable and is investigated as a matter of urgency," said a spokesman.
American Express said it was 'looking into it'.
The Information Commissioner's Office has launched an investigation.
New figures released in a series of written Parliamentary answers to MPs, has revealed the true scale of Governmental data losses in the last seven years.
The worst offender was the Ministry of Defence, which lost 994 laptops, eight mobile phones and 12 palmtop computers. Defence chiefs have admitted the devices contained some secret and classified material.
Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather, who uncovered the statistics, said: "The Labour government has a disgraceful history of recklessness with personal data, showing a complete disrespect for our privacy.
"Year after year the taxpayer is footing the bill for this Government's shocking carelessness."
Source: The Telegraph uk