The loss of a memory stick containing the details of 130,000 criminals, including the name, address and dates of birth for 33,000 criminals, is not the first embarrassing data loss for the government:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) admitted it had lost the details of 188 people this year, in five separate incidents.
The MoD admitted that it loses an average of one laptop every two days with 659 reported stolen and 89 lost by the department in the last 4 years.
The government admitted it had lost the personal details of more than three million learner drivers who had applied for a licence between September 2004 and April 2007.
In the same month the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland admitted to losing the personal details of over 6,000 drivers.
Details of 50,000 visa applicants were displayed on a website run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The incident was investigated by the Information Commissioner's Office and the FCO signed a formal undertaking to comply with the principles of the Data Protection Act.
CDs containing personal data on 25 million child benefit recipients were lost by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Paul Gray, the chairman of HM Revenue & Customs, resigned following the loss of the two discs in transit. The discs contained names, addresses, dates of birth and bank account details.
This was first published in August 2008