TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Data on Ohio State Workers Stolen

Data on Ohio State Workers Stolen

Stephen Majors, AP (
Fri, 15 Jun 2007 13:11:03 -0500

By STEPHEN MAJORS, Associated Press Writer

A data storage device with the Social Security numbers and other
personal information on all 64,000 Ohio state employees was stolen
from a state intern's car last weekend, Gov. Ted Strickland said

"I don't mean to alarm people unnecessarily," Strickland
said. "There's no reason to believe a breach of information has

He said it takes special equipment to access the information on the
device, so he doesn't believe the workers' privacy is in jeopardy.

Strickland said an Office of Budget and Management intern assigned to
an interagency computer project mistakenly left the disk, a backup, in
a vehicle parked outside an apartment Sunday. The intern, who informed
his supervisor of the theft Monday, is being investigated, the
governor said.

Strickland said he was not allowed to specifically describe the
computer device, or other details surrounding the theft, under
direction from law enforcement investigating the theft.

It was just the latest case of personal information on thousands of
employees disappearing or being inappropriately accessed. Several
universities, corporations and even the Veterans Affairs Department
have reported lost or stolen data.

In the Ohio case, Strickland said the state would provide employees
access to free identity protection services for the next year, a cost
he estimated at about $660,000.

He also issued an executive order to change state procedures for
handling such data.

Under protocol in place since 2002, a first backup storage device is
kept at a temporary work site for a state office along with the
computer system that holds all the employee information, and a second
backup device is given to employees on a rotating basis to take home
for safekeeping, officials said.

Strickland said it was inappropriate for an intern to be designated
that responsibility, and he ordered an end to the practice of
employees taking the devices home. State Budget Director Pari Sabety
said the device now would be stored in another location in a locked,
fireproof box.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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