652 clients of Washington Department of Social and Health Services notified after contractor's laptop stolen

A contract psychologist for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services had his laptop stolen, the state disclosed today.

Sunil Kakar, PsyD‘s laptop was  recovered from a pawn shop on February 14,  ten days after it was discovered it had been stolen, but according to the state, there is no way to be sure whether the unencrypted data on the drive were accessed or copied. When the laptop was recovered, its password protection was intact, and it is likely that this was an opportunistic theft for the hardware, but Dr. Kakar decided to “err on the side of caution” and notify all clients who had data on the laptop.

According to the state’s press release today:

Depending on the services rendered, the client information could include client names; identification numbers; psychological evaluations, including notes and reports with diagnoses; dates of birth, the last four digits of Social Security numbers; dates of services; and addresses.

The notice does not indicate where the laptop was stolen from, but a department spokesperson informs PHIprivacy.net that the laptop was stolen from Dr. Kakar’s car.

And although the release does not indicate whether any policies were in place requiring encryption, a department spokesperson informs PHIprivacy.net that, “The contract with this provider provides for a variety of data security requirements including encryption.”

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