Stolen laptop “may have” held customer data

On July 8, a laptop that may have contained  some customer information such as names and credit card numbers was stolen from an employee of Henry Schein, Inc.  Although the laptop was password protected, the data were not encrypted.

By letter dated July 16 to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office,  Kristen J. Mathews of  Proskauer Rose indicated that the HSI, which distributes medical, dental, and veterinary supplies,  was not even sure any customer data were on the laptop,  writing “At this time HSI has no reason to believe that any personal information (if any was actually contained on the laptop) has been or will be accessed or misused. ”

So how do you notify customers when you’re not even sure any customer data were on a stolen device?  Is this a “if there were data, then it would have to be _________’s data”  thing?

Whenever I read such reports, I always wonder why there was no backup that could tell them definitively whether there were PII on a stolen device and if so, whose.   I also wonder why any customer data would be on the device  since it seems logical (to me, anyway) that the employee wasn’t working with the data or at the very least,  hadn’t worked with it for long enough time that s/he could not longer remember or be sure what was on the laptop.    So far, I haven’t come up with any good answers, but maybe there is a scenario that I haven’t considered.

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  1. Golde - July 24, 2009

    Total chaos. Credit monitoring bought which will cost HSI a lot of money when credit cards were involved. WHY? Who recommended that? What credit cards should someone reading this letter cancel if you don’t say where they were used?

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