On 21 November last year, chancellor Alistair Darling admitted that details of 25 million child benefit recipients had been lost.
The records included confidential details such as bank and building society details, National Insurance numbers, addresses and child records.
By February, computer security expert McAfee reported that the victims of this data scandal were being targeted by web fraudsters.
They offered people who had lost information the opportunity to claim a tax refund of £215 from the Government, but were actually “phishing” for data like bank details so that they could rip them off.
Seven days later, on 29 February, a highly confidential Home Office disk was found hidden in a laptop, which had been sold on eBay.
We have had comments from readers concerned, no in fact angry, at the Government’s plans to create a huge database on which will be stored details of all of our phone and internet activity.
Invasion of privacy is a huge issue – no one likes the idea of the government being able to get access to details of every phone call we make, which websites we look at and who we are emailing.
As one reader points out, the argument “If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear” just doesn’t stand up.
Our reader writes: “If you've done nothing wrong, then you shouldn't be being monitored! Giving up freedom is not a way to protect freedom”.
Another worries that the information will not be used to trap terrorists, as the Home Office claims, but to go after average Joes who occasionally download copyrighted songs or movies off the Internet.
But for me, the most disturbing aspect of this proposal is what will happen to the information once the government has put it on the database.
For one, no details have been released as to how the database is going to be created, who is going to ensure old information is deleted, and, most importantly, how such vast amounts of data are to be kept secure.
We have broken two major stories this year already in which vital, and confidential, information, supposedly in the care of the civil servants we all pay our taxes to keep in clothes, has found its way into the wrong hands.
Those in our midst who really have something to hide will make sure that their information does not end up in the database.
But for all of us who don’t, there is the truly terrifying prospect that all of the details of our lives could get into the hands of someone who could steal our money or our identity because yet another Home Office disk has been lost.