In the latest large-scale data breach, the Bank of Scotland has lost a disk containing personal information on 62,000 of the bank's mortgage customers. The information was not encrypted.

The data was lost after it was sent to a credit reference agency, which ultimately reported the information missing. The bank, part of HBOS, claims the disk was lost in the post, not stolen, and would normally have been encrypted.

As public awareness of data breaches rises, calls for US-style breach legislation, wider use of database encryption and raised security awareness are increasing.

Phil Dunkelberger, president and chief executive of PGP Corporation, said: "Data is becoming a currency, and proposed EU regulations on breach notification are making more and more people take a good hard look at their data security situation."