A data loss scandal originally estimated to have affected 100,000 potential armed forces recruits has now been revealed to be far worse than the MoD initially admitted.

A hard drive that went missing from MoD subcontractor has now been revealed to contain data on as many as 1.7 million prospective recruits.

The admittal was made by Armed Forces minister Bob Ainsworth who faced parliament.

As we reported 2 days ago, the information lost includes bank account details, next of kin and National Insurance numbers.

Ainsworth also said that the drive is unencrypted.

"This is yet another example of the serious implications the loss of personal data can have for the general public", said Tory MP Nigel Evans, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on identity fraud.

"The loss of such important information ... will be music to the ears of fraudsters everywhere. It is vital that there is a cultural change across the public sector with all professionals aware of their responsibility to protect and manage personal data."

In July, the MoD admitted to losing an astonishing 659 laptops since 2004.

And this is just the machines that were reported stolen.

A further 89 were simply reported as lost.