February 10, 2010
'I'm from the government and your private information is safe with me.'
The Federal government has a habit of losing private information, which includes social security numbers (here, here, and here). Most recently, the National Archives was knocker over for 100,000 SSNs.
When it comes to governmental snafus, California's Department of Health Care Services joined the ignominious club by printing SSNs on the address labels of almost 50,000 envelopes. No one was notified of the colossal error for three days:
The department said the security incident took place Feb. 1, but it was only told about it on Thursday. It started to notify the 49,352 beneficiaries about the problem over the weekend.
"At this point, there is no evidence that unauthorized parties have acquired or accessed beneficiary personal information," the department said in a prepared statement.
Yes, I could make the snide remark, "Why would anyone want the Federal government to have access to over three-hundred and fifty million digitized medical records?"
Well, I am.
We're all familiar with the dangers of identity theft and its consequences, and being an informed citizen, I suggest that someone in California visit the Federal Trade Commission, which has a page dedicated to identity theft, since the Federal government doesn't seem to be using it.