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[Dataloss] Data Breach Exposes Maine Students' Social Security Numbers

From: Christine Fulgham (christineopensecurityfoundation.org)
Date: Thu Oct 07 2010 - 11:21:48 CDT


The Department of Education has confirmed that one of its computer systems
allowed unauthorized viewing of Social Security numbers. It's exactly what
has worried Maine Civil Liberties Union chief Shenna Bellows, who opposes
letting the department gather student Social Security numbers.

"You can make these systems safer, but you can't make them 100 percent
safe," she says. "Experience shows that data bases are vulnerable to breach,
therefore, any government agency needs to be very careful about information
it's collecting and why it's collecting that information."

For now, state Education Commissioner Angela Faherty has ordered Social
Security numbers in its system deleted and told school districts not to
forward any more information.

The state wants to use the Social Security numbers to track student
achievement over years. But several school districts, including Portland,
have balked at gathering the data.

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