The BBC reports that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have now, belatedly, offered a reward of £20,000 for the return of the missing unencrypted CDs containing the personal details of 7.25 million families / 25 million people.
Spy Blog was just at the point of offering a small reward for these CDs ourselves.
For the greater public good, Spy Blog now offers a free, "no questions asked" secure, anonymous channel of contact for anyone who might actually be in possession of the CDs, but who does not, for obvious reasons, want to contact the authorities or even the mainstream media, directly.
Please contact us via email: blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk
with or without the use of our PGP public encryption key or via the comment section of this blog if you know or suspect that you have the missing CDs in your possession.
There are a few obvious and not so obvious details about the CDs which we will ask for, simply to to weed out hoaxes.
If you are in possession of the CDs, or even if you are willing to reveal more of the background story to this scandal, then you might also wish to read our hints and tips for whistleblowers article, which will be relevant if you wish to remain anonymous.
We do not want a share of the reward, we only want to reduce the data security and privacy risk to the public (including our own families and friends), although we suspect that the chances of this happening are very slim.
£20,000 reward offered for discs
Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 15:13 GMT
A reward of £20,000 is being offered for the return of the HM Revenue and Customs CDs containing the personal details of 25 million people.
It comes as the main searches end for the discs lost after being sent from the HMRC office in Newcastle to the National Audit Office in London.
Police say they are now extending the searches to "rule out" other locations.
And they are appealing to HMRC, NAO and Treasury staff to check "in case the package or discs have turned up".
The data on those discs could be worth millions of pounds to criminals, and far more than that to terrorists or foreign intelligence agencies.
£ 20,000 is a reasonable carrot to offer the civil servants and courier staff, to re-double their efforts to check that the CDs have not just been misplaced.
There does not, however, seem to be any offer of immunity from prosecution.
Even if this reward offer succeeds in getting the CDs found and returned, there can never be any proof that the data has not been simply copied from these discs.
Will HMRC now change all the affected National Insurance Numbers and Child Benefit Numbers ?