Data privacy in Minnesota
Posted at 12:12 PM on January 4, 2008 by Bob Collins (0 Comments)
"Minnesotans should not have to worry about government sharing their personal data without their consent," Governor Tim Pawlenty said in announcing a series of legislative initiatives nearly two years ago to tighten data security in the state.
This afternoon Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion will discuss an investigation "of unauthorized use of the state driver's license database by two department employees."
Among recent data privacy incidents reported by state officials:
December 2007 - The state Commerce Department reported a vendor's laptop with Social Security information of a few hundred Minnesota residents was stolen.
July 2007 - A University of Minnesota owned laptop with identity information on students is stolen from a car in California.
August 2006 - Two computers were stolen from an Institute of Technology employee at the University of Minnesota. Included were identities of 13, 084 students between 1992-2006, including the Social Security numbers of 603 of them.
June 2006 - A server backup tape contained Social Security numbers and other information for 2,400 Minnesota taxpayers and identifying information on 48,000 businesses was lost. The tape was sent in a package along with three checks totaling $2,400 and some interoffice correspondence. The package was delivered two months later.
December 2005 -- Legislative Auditor James Nobles warns officials that the state's most important computers remain vulnerable. A member of his staff says many state workers can view private information that is not required to perform their jobs.
April 2005 - A legislative auditor's report concluded that hackers could get into the Department of Public Safety's license tab renewal system and steal consumers' private data. State officials shut down the Web site.
These incidents are on top of the gaffes by private organizations here who have your data:
November 2007 - A laptop with about 268,000 names and Social Security numbers was stolen from a blood bank.
May 2006 - Medicare drug benefit applications from Minnesotans and North Dakotans were stolen from an insurance agent's unlocked car in Brooklyn Park. Information included applicants' name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and bank routing information, according to the Privacy Rights Clearing House.