May 23rd, 2006

26.5 Million Vets Have Personal Data Stolen Because The Government Is Incompetente

As an IT guy, the following story made me cringe because it is due to sheer stupidity and negligence:

Personal information on 26.5 million veterans may have fallen into criminal hands when someone stole electronic data from the Maryland home of a federal government employee, officials said Monday.

The burglary earlier this month could be one of the largest thefts of data that can be used to steal someones identity, electronic privacy experts said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs employee whose home was burglarized had taken the information home without authorization,[emphasis added] the agency said Monday.

That “personal information” is reported to include the Social Security numbers. Imagine how valuable 26.5 million Social Security numbers might be on the black market! Imagine the pure hell that 26.5 million families will now have to go through checking their credit reports quarterly to see if anything suspicious shows up. Why? Because someone was able to walk out of his office with 26.5 million Veterans personal information.

That isn’t just sloppy, it should be criminal. The pure negligence and stupidity here is staggering. That a VA analyst was able to just waltz out the door with that kind of data is inexcusable. The VA’s own internal watchdog has flagged data security as a trouble spot for several years, yet there this guy goes taking 26.5 million Social Security numbers (stored on a bunch of disks!!) back to his house. A house that happens to be in an area where burglary is a common thing!!

The funny thing is the thieves probably didn’t know what they were stealing when they stole it. You bet they do now. If they haven’t tossed the disks yet, they are now sitting on a gold mine. Everyone from the Russian Mafia to immigrant smugglers will want that information. Twenty Six and a half million people are now in for an indefinite taste of credit hell.

And this government want us to trust them with our phone records?

Posted in Politics, Current Affairs, Miscellaneous, Immigration

9 Comment(s)

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  1. Steve O Says :

    Yeah, and I’m fucking one of them!!!!!!!!!!!! This sooooo pissed me off yesterday. All they could do is give us a 1-800 number to call. They should have to pay for my credit reports.

  2. Tom Baker Says :

    YEs, when companies screw up like that, they often pay for all the credit watching. The government should be forced to do the same. 

  3. LiberPaul Says :

    Jesus H Christ!!!  I’d have more trouble smuggling a recipe for one of our company’s products than apparently this guy had….

  4. liberal vet Says :

    Steve I thought I heard on NPR today it’s those discharged from 1975 on. I was discharged in August of 74 same day as Nixon the 9th. Do you know if this is so? LV

  5. Liberal Army Wife Says :

    I heard the same thing.  just let my son and daughter in law know how to freeze the credit reports and the other advice I heard on that same NPR report.  Sweet heavens… WHY is that information all together, in one place, not encrypted, and why is some flunky allowed to walk out with it?  shouldn’t those disks be locked up?  basically the question is… HOW dumb ARE they????  We have had enough of this stuff leaking out.  it’s not the first time the govt has allowed crucial information about veterans out.  DAMN IT.  how about some care being taken with our information.


  6. The Cranky Brit Says :

    I’ve done the same, passing the info to friends I have in t he States who are/are married to veterans. Unfrotunatel,y even though I actually work for a credit reference agency, I’m not familiar with the US’s regulations. I know the UK has a body that (for a fee) will report any change to your credit status, i.e. new accounts or loans taken. Is there something similar in the US?

  7. Steve O Says :

    Yeah it’s 1975 and on. LAW, what do you mean “freeze” your  credit report? Can you do that?

  8. Liberal Army Wife Says :

    according to a credit expert on  NPR, there are about 13 states in the US with laws that allow credit reports to be frozen, i.e. the credit bureau is not allowed to release your report when requested UNLESS you clear it.  so if a credit card company or loan company, or Best Buy requests your credit report, you have to clear it, and the thief can’t.  I don’t know if you have to give a code word or something.  Even if you live in the states that don’t have that law, I can’t imagine the credit bureaus refusing to let you do that, if you are a vet and have probably had your information stolen.   AND if you ask, and they don’t, you have alerted them that your information is out there.  

    LIke I said, I heard it on NPR and we’ll find out if it’s true.


  9. Steve O Says :

    Thanks LAW!!! I’ll have to track down the NPR report and see if NJ is on the list. That would stop these farkers dead in their tracks if they can’t get a credit card because the company cannot access my credit report to see if I’m eligible.

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