Sensitive personal information on 800,000 California residents lost between IBM and state office

Steven Harmon reports:

In a puzzling breach of security, computer storage devices containing identification information of 800,000 Californians using the state’s child support services have gone missing.

The Department of Child Support Service reported on Thursday the data devices were lost March 12 en route to California from the Colorado facilities of IBM, one of the contractors in charge of the storage devices.

Read more on Mercury News.

From the FAQ posted by DCSS:

1. What happened?

On March 12, 2012, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) was notified by California’s Office of Technology Services (OTech) that contracted service providers, International Business Machines (IBM) and Iron Mountain, Inc. could not locate several specialized storage devices.

The devices were in transit from IBM’s facility in Colorado to California. Upon arrival, several devices were missing.

2. When did it happen?

We were notified on March 12th that the storage devices were missing. It was confirmed on March 20th that the devices contained personal information. Since then we have been working to identify the individuals who are possibly affected by this incident. Our primary goal has been to notify everyone as quickly as possible. Letters were mailed to all impacted parties on March 29, 2012.

Okay, but you didn’t answer your own question: WHEN did it happen? And while we’re at it, what transit system was being used to transport the devices? – Dissent


4. What specific items of personal information were involved?

The documents and forms that were on the missing device contained one or more of the following pieces of personal information:

  • Name & Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Drivers License or Identification Number
  • Name of Health Insurance Provider
  • Health Insurance Plan Membership Identification Number
  • Employer Information

The actual information for each participant will vary depending on what forms and documents were processed for their individual case.


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