German politicians are being urged to tighten data protection laws after a state privacy watchdog said information on the entire German population was available and being traded online.
By Harry de Quetteville
Last Updated: 8:52PM BST 20 Aug 2008
Thilo Weichert, data commissioner from the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, also said that bank account details of up to 20 million people were also being bought and sold illegally.
His comments have added to a rapidly widening scandal that began last week in Schleswig-Holstein, when a compact disc of data arrived at the state's consumer protection agency.
On examining the disc, the agency discovered addresses and bank details on 17,000 individuals, which had been copied by a whistle-blower at a call centre where they were being used.