How on earth can you 'lose' the names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses and, one has to assume, the mobile phone numbers of some 17 million of your customers? It's a good question, and to get the answer you might want to shout it in the direction of T-Mobile because it has apparently managed to do just that.

The Der Speigel newspaper reports that the records were actually stolen two years ago, and relate to German customers of the mobile phone network. It would appear that amongst the data lost are 'secret' addresses of German politicians including a former Federal President as well as a whole assortment of celebrities.

An official statement says that the data, and the storage device upon which it is contained, is in "the hands of unknown parties" although it insists there is absolutely no evidence to suggest any of the compromised data has actually been compromised. In as far as it has not been used since 2006 when it went missing.

That said, the data has been offered for sale through underground online channels. T-Mobile are upbeat about this as well, claiming that nobody had bought it.

Well, that's OK then...