Unencrypted discs with 25 million Child Benefit records on them were handed to an accountancy firm by government auditors, it has emerged.
The National Audit Office (NAO) gave the CDs - similar to the ones lost by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officials - to accountants KPMG for auditing.
It said the discs - with bank account details on them - were delivered "by hand" to KPMG and returned safely.
The Information Commissioner is probing whether data laws were broken.
A spokesman said the commissioner would be looking at "all aspects" of data protection surrounding the missing Child Benefit records as part of its investigation.
The HMRC has been remarkably cavalier with people's data. Do they have any concept of the risks posed by distributing private data to all and sundry?
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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.