Dec 302018

Robert Sutcliffe reports:

The Information Commissioner is investigating after a cache of confidential police information was discovered by a member of the public in Holmfirth.

West Yorkshire Police say they are also looking into the circumstances of how around 50 items were found flapping around on the morning of Saturday, December 22.


“I began picking them up and found they were confidential documents from the police – witness statements, restraining orders, prison release documents with names, addresses and dates of birth, car registration details clearly obvious.

Read more on ExaminerLive.

Dec 202018

There’s a follow-up to a 2015 breach that was previously reported on this blog.  Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey made the announcement yesterday:

BOSTON — McLean Hospital Corporation will implement new security and training programs and pay a total of $75,000 to resolve claims that it exposed the personal and health information of more than 1,500 people, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. 

According to the AG’s complaint, filed today along with a consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court, McLean lost four unencrypted backup computer tapes containing personal and health information of patients, employees and deceased donors of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center. The AG’s Office alleges McLean violated the Consumer Protection Law, the Massachusetts Data Security Law, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act when it failed to properly protect patients’ personal and health information.

“Hospitals must take measures to protect the private information of their patients,” said AG Healey. “This settlement requires McLean Hospital to implement a new information security program and train its staff on how to properly handle the private information of those they serve.” 
The AG’s complaint alleges that McLean, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, allowed an employee to regularly take home eight unencrypted back-up tapes containing clinical and demographic information from the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center that the hospital possessed. The tapes contained personal information such as names, social security numbers, diagnoses and family histories. When the employee was terminated from her position at McLean in May 2015, she only returned four of the tapes, and the hospital was unable to recover the others. 
The complaint also alleges several failures by McLean to identify, assess, and plan for security risks, including failing to properly train employees, report the loss of the tapes in a timely manner, and encrypt portable devices containing personal information. 

As part of the settlement, McLean has agreed to implement and maintain a written information security program, provide mandatory training to new employees and existing employees on security of personal and health information, encrypt within 60 days all electronic personal and health information within its owned and issued portable devices, and to create and maintain an inventory of these devices.   

McLean has also agreed to a third-party audit of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center’s use and handling of portable devices containing personal and health information, and to report to the AG’s Office the results of this audit and any corrective actions the hospital will take. 
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael Wong and Legal Analyst Elizabeth Carnes Flynn of the AG’s Health Care Division.

Read more on Boston25. As noted above, this incident was noted on this blog in 2015 when McClean first disclosed it. But when I check HHS’s public breach tool now, I cannot see where HHS/OCR ever did anything on this one. There is no web description associated with a McLean incident reported to them in July 2015. That was reported to them as affecting 12,673 patients and could well be the same incident. But why is there no note on any investigation or steps the entity took? The incident is in the Archive section of the breach tool.

Dec 192018

David Sun reports:

The authorities are investigating a potential data breach after a travel agency employee lost a hard disk containing personal details of clients.

The employee of Insight Vacations had taken the disk out of the office without authorisation and lost it in a taxi on the way home.

The disk, which has not been recovered, contains the names, mailing addresses and NRIC details of more than 200 clients, as well as the names, mailing addresses and mobile numbers of more than 5,000 people on the agency’s mailing lists.

Read more on The Paper.  “NRIC” refers to the Singapore National Registration Identity Card. 

Nov 192018

Rachel Farrell reports:

A leading university has experienced a potential data breach after a USB stick containing “confidential” details of up to 900 students went missing.

NUI Galway, with a student population of over 18,000, confirmed in a statement on their website that the USB may have contained student names, their student numbers and exam results.

It is understood that the details of up to 5pc of the student population, some 900 students, were included on the “mislaid” memory device.


Oct 232018

Russell Pollard reports:

Around 400 people who picked up their prescribed medication from the Boots store on St Mark’s Road in Chaddesden, in early September, should be concerned, and should be asking some serious questions of Boots.

The original versions of their ‘prescriptions’ were lost from the store – the whereabouts of their personal data unknown. Copies had to be re-printed to fulfil the orders.

Boots did not to tell the affected customers. Why?

Boots were asked to comment on this breach of confidentiality. The official response was:

“At Boots UK, we are committed to protecting our customers’ privacy and data security. We are aware of our legal requirements, and abide by the data protection legislation and regulatory guidance.”

Read more on Derby News. Not only did they not notify customers, but it sounds like they threatened employees that any disclosure would lead to job repercussions.  Read the entire article and see what you think.