London, Oct.14 : The British Ministry of Defence has confirmed that up to two million records of potential armed forces recruits have gone missing. Last week the Ministry of Defence said a computer hard drive with the private details of 100,000 members of Army, Royal Navy and RAF personnel, of all ranks, had gone missing from the premises of contractor EDS in Hook, Hampshire.
The Telegraph quoted Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth as admitting that the portable drive might also have "at worst" also contained the details of another 1.7 million individuals who had made enquiries about joining the Armed Forces.
The names, addresses and phone numbers of applicants were stored on the unencrypted hard drive.
But for those serving personnel whose details were lost, the hard drive also held their next of kin details, passport and National Insurance numbers, drivers' licence and bank details and National Health Service numbers.
Opposition parties said the disclosure showed that the hard-drive was "a potential goldmine for organized crime and could even compromise national security".
The Ministry of Defence police had now set up a telephone help-line for anyone affected by the incident, while the Association for Payment Clearing Services was monitoring bank accounts for any "unauthorised access".
The loss of the hard drive is now one of the most serious data lapses since the Government promised to tighten its procedures in the wake of the loss of the child benefit database.