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Data Theft Incident Worsens

Theft of a backup tape from an intern's car in early June was originally thought to only affect around 60,000 Ohio state workers and around 80,000 state welfare recipients. It has now been disclosed that the backup tape contained records on more than 200,000 Ohio residents, making it one of the largest personal identity data thefts in recent months.

It was discovered that the backup tape should contain records on Ohio residents who had not banked state income tax refund cheques. While authorities claim that accessing the data will require access to specialised equipment, software and expertise, it has been pointed out many times in the past that accessing backup tapes is actually not all that difficult to achieve.

While the theft is a significant concern, it has highlighted the poor information management practices applied by the state government. Apart from having poor policy level guidance for information management, the practice of encouraging staff to take backup tapes home for safekeeping also needs to be addressed.

25 June 2007

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