Consumer Reports Reveals Government Among Biggest Sources of ID Leaks

<strong>Yonkers, N.Y. &mdash; Aug. 4</strong><br />Americans trust government officials to safeguard sensitive personal and financial data, but government is among the biggest sources of ID leaks, according to a Consumer Reports investigation.<br /><br />The report "ID Leaks, A Surprising Source is Your Government at Work," in the September issue points out that penalties are also rarely imposed on those who are negligent.<br /><br />CR analyzed records of publicly reported data breaches compiled by the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and found that more than 230 security lapses by federal, state and local government from 2005 through mid-June 2008 resulted in the loss or exposure of at least 44 million consumer records containing Social Security or driver&#39;s license numbers and other personal data.<br /><br />That represents almost one out of five ID breaches of all types reported during that period. But even those statistics probably don&#39;t accurately portray the problem. CR reports that a 2006 investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that 788 breaches had occurred in the three and a half years between January 2003 and July 2006 at 17 federal departments and agencies. Few of these incidents were publicly disclosed.<br /><br />A 2007 report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed 24 incidents in which IRS laptops containing sensitive data for 480 taxpayers were lost or stolen because IRS employees put them in checked baggage at an airport, left them in unlocked cars or lost them on trains or buses. Only one of the…


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