From Courthouse News:
Aon Consulting disclosed online the names and Social Security numbers of 22,000 state retirees, a class action claims in New Castle County Court. The class claims Aon did not bother to scrub personal information before posting online a request for proposals from insurers.
“Gail Slaughter’s identity is likely for sale on the Internet right now,” Slaughter, the lead plaintiff, says in her complaint. “For a minimal fee, hackers throughout the world can use her Social Security number and birth date to secure credit cards, cell phones, and alike (sic). Ms. Slaughter finds herself in this position not because of anything that she did, but because the state’s benefit consultant could not be counted on to scrub the personal information of nearly 22,000 state retirees before posting the date online.
“The harm is irreparable.”
Looking at the complaint itself, it appears that she’s suing the subcontractor and not the state, which had uploaded the RFP to its procurement site. Interesting. The complaint treats Aon’s submission and certification that the submission was in final format and ready for uploading as a “directive.” Apart from other legal issues, I wonder whether claiming it was a “directive” is on solid grounds, as a potential consultant does not really control or have authority over the actions of the potential employer. To the extent that the state just accepted Aon’s submission as ready for posting without actually verifying that before posting it, the state might be the responsible party here and not Aon. But then, I am not a lawyer, and we’ll have to wait to see what a court says.
Update: A story in the Milford Beacon provides a statement from the state as to why this is Aon’s responsibility and not theirs:
Bert Scoglietti, OMB policy director, said Aon is at fault for including personal information in the document.
“Aon takes primary responsibility in this,” he said. “This document went in various formats between Aon and this office in its development. Previous versions did not contain Social Security numbers; the final document was sent by Aon.”
Scoglietti said the benefits office didn’t have to review the finalized document before posting it online.
“Documents, when they’re in final format and ready for publishing, usually at that point you consider them to be final,” he said. “There was no reason for us to think [personal information] would be in there.”
So it’s Aon’s fault because no one could reasonably expect the state to actually look at what they’re posting? I see….