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From: Henry Brown (hbrownknology.net)
Date: Tue May 08 2007 - 05:47:34 CDT
Vendor misplaces tapes with sensitive state data
AUSTIN — Computer tapes from a state agency that contain millions of
records with sensitive personal data, including Social Security numbers
and wages, were missing for more than two weeks before being found
Monday by a private vendor.
The 14 missing tapes contain employment information that is used to
verify Medicaid claims to ensure that the clients aren't covered by
While the information was not compromised, the episode exposed serious
flaws in the way contractors handle the data. Officials with the Health
and Human Services Commission weren't notified that the records were
missing for more than a week after the box should have arrived at the
State officials promised to institute new procedures, including a way to
track shipments handled by couriers.
"We want to be able to track those records at every point in the
process," said Stephanie Goodman, an HHSC spokeswoman.
The data was not encrypted, but Goodman said it would have been
extremely difficult for someone to access the 9 million records on the
tapes without appropriate knowledge of the computer code. Goodman said
she did not know exactly how many Social Security numbers are in the
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Tracking more than 207 million compromised records in 649 incidents over 7 years.