We are awaiting with interest, the Emergency Statement to the House of Commons this afternoon by the Chancellor Alistair Darling.
Paul Gray, the chief civil servant at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has resigned.
TV news reports are talking of the "loss" of the personal and bank account details of up to 7.5 million (Sky News ) or perhaps 15 million (BBC) people claiming Child Benefit.
If it is Child Benefit details, then for "battered wives" who have fled their violent partners, or for victims of stalkers, or people in witness protection schemes, it is not just the worry of potential financial fraud, but also their actual physical safety which could now have been endangered.
There have been comparatively minor breaches, reported recently in October where "only" 15,000 people's data, customers of one insurance company, had their details lost in the post.
There has been spin and evasion about whether or not the CDROM was encrypted in that case
If this case, as reported, also involves CDROMs lost in the HMRC "internal" post, unless there is a clear and unambiguous claim that it was all strongly encrypted, then it is best to assume that it was not.
Remember, even if the missing CDROMS are eventually found somewhere, there can now be no guarantee that they have not been copied in transit.
Will anyone be prosecuted under the (weak) Data Protection Act ?
Will the Government actually pay to rectify some of the damage i.e. to cover the disruption costs of , say, changing millions of bank account details ?
Remember that these are the same systems, run by the same demoralised and overworked low level civil servants, facing job cuts, who are supposed to magically somehow guarantee the integrity and security of the centralised National Identity Register scheme.
Will Alistair Darling or any of his Treasury Ministers also do the honourable thing and resign ?
Any political blame for HMRC incompetence is really down to his predecessor i.e. the current Prime Minister Gordon Brown.