The lost disks at the center of the U.K. government's massive data breach could be worth more than $3 billion if they fall into the wrong hands, according to British politician Vincent Cable.
The acting leader of the U.K.'s Liberal Democrat party issued the stark warning today during a heated House of Commons debate, as shock waves from the country's largest ever data breach continue to rock Gordon Brown's government. In the hands of criminals, the disks, which contain the personal details of 25 million people, would be a license to print money, warned Cable.
The information has "a criminal value of something in the order of 1.5 billion ($3.1 billion), which makes the Brinks Mat robbery rather the equivalent of robbing the church collection," said the politician, according to a BBC report. He was referring to a 1983 heist when thieves made off with £26 million ($54 million) worth of gold bullion.
On the black market, the lost identities could be worth around £60 pounds each, explained Cable, warning that an "enormous amount" of personal data is now at risk.
The U.K. government is still reeling from the data breach, which has already led to the resignation of HMRC chairman Paul Gray. Both Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling have issued apologies for the incident.