Sunday, May 29, 2005

Montana Leaves Private Info on Computers

Yup. Better make darn sure your surplus computers are scrubbed of tax records, medical data and social security numbers. A hard lesson learned by the state of Montana:

Montana Leaves Private Info on Computers:

"The legislative audit, obtained Tuesday, blamed unclear state policy for the computer hard drives not being properly 'scrubbed' before the machines were donated to school districts, given to other state agencies or sold to the public.

'The state lacks a single clear policy instructing departments on information removal, assigning responsibility for defining sensitive data, and assigning responsibility for performing data removal and certifying the task has been accomplished,' the auditors said.

Janet Kelly, Department of Administration director, said in a written response that her agency immediately began crafting a more concise policy to ensure private information held by the government is not made public.

'The resulting language will require that all data must be irretrievably removed from the hard drive,' she said.

Jeff Brandt, acting chief information officer for the state, said Tuesday the new policy should be complete by mid-July. In the meantime, he said, a warning has gone out to all information technology officials throughout state government.

'We're telling folks to not make any assumptions about options for scrubbing disks,' he said. 'Err on the side of making darn sure they are scrubbed.'"

Thanks to beSpacific for the pointer to this article.

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