Following the recent privacy blunders by the Government, which saw laptops containing personal details about thousands of members of the UK public falling into the wrong hands, banking giant HSBC has also admitted to losing the personal data of its customers.

Names, dates of birth, life insurance details and information on smoking habits for 370,000 life assurance customers were among the information stored on the password protected but not encrypted disc. It did not contain bank account details and went missing almost two months after being sent by courier from the group's offices in Southampton to a re-insurer.

The Financial Services Authority is now investigating the incident.

"The data disk lost by HSBC contains no address or bank account details for any customer and would therefore be of very limited, if any, use to criminals," said an HSBC spokeswoman.

"Nonetheless, HSBC would like to apologise to its life assurance customers for any concern this may cause. Each customer will be contacted shortly and a thorough investigation into this matter is underway."

See also:

Stolen laptop holds details of 238 children

More laptop losses exposed in 'unforgivable' breach

Govt must 'get a grip' over loss of 25m records