Much of the comment on the HMRC scandal has focused on whether the data was encrypted or not, whether it should have been entrusted to a courier firm, and whether it was lost or stolen. However, the fall-out from this huge data loss also makes it clear that government ministers and senior civil servants alike don't know their backsides from their elbows when it come to IT.

That is an immensely dangerous situation for the UK to be in, especially when the current crop of clowns at the top seems as wedded as ever to the National ID Card scheme.

If the HMRC can lose data this easily - and remember, this is the organisation that would like direct access to our bank accounts so it can withdraw what it thinks we owe it - then so can the new Identity & Passports Service. And if they do, what's to stop the whole scheme becoming a £7 billion (and counting) white elephant?

Biometrics, say the snake-oil salesmen, intent on getting their noses into this trough full of our money. And those easily-led politicians and civil servants - the former wanting to be seen to be "doing something about terrorism", and the latter intent on increasing the administration's power - have chosen to believe them.

The snag is that if your biometric data is stolen, fixing that is not quite as simple as changing your PIN. What are you going to do - sand off your fingerprints and engrave new ones?