UK data leak affects 25 million

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Britain’s tax and customs service has lost banking and personal data of 25 million people – nearly half of the entire 60 million population in the UK – when 2 computer hard drive disks were missing on their way to a government audit office in an internal mail service.

Paul Gray, the chairman of the Revenue and Customs department, has resigned over the scandal. Treasury chief Alistair Darling revealed that the disks were not tracked and were missing for three weeks before alarms were raised.

The disks contained data of names of parents and children, their addresses, date of birth, national insurance numbers and banking details. “I regard this as an extremely serious failure,” Mr Darling told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

Mr. Darling has also said that there was no evidence that the data has fallen into the hands of criminals and police were involved in the hunt for the disks.

“I profoundly regret and apologise for the inconvenience and worries that have been caused to millions of families,” Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons. “We have a duty to do everything that we can to protect the public.” He has ordered a review into the scandal.