Tag Archive: Personally identifiable information


Security Breaches Of Personal Information At Federal Agencies More Than Doubles Since 2009

 

 

Security Data Breaches

 

 

 

” Millions of individuals who recently entrusted personal, medical, and financial information to the federal government while enrolling in Obamacare via Healthcare.gov may find a recent trend reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) rather unsettling.  The number of security breaches involving Personally Identifiable Information (PII) at federal agencies more than doubled in recent years, increasing from 10,481 in 2009 to 25,566 in 2013.  Perhaps even more disturbing, the GOA found that “none of the seven agencies [in a related study] consistently documented lessons learned from PII breaches.”

  A graph accompanying the GAO report illustrates the dramatic and consistent upward trend in PII-related breaches over the last several years”

 

 

   See the Weekly Standard for more . We find this disturbing trend to be remarkably suspicious , yet hardly surprising given the current administration’s total lack of regard for our basic Constitutional protections . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obamacare Marketplaces Raise Data Security Concerns

 

 

” Minnesota insurance broker Jim Koester was looking for information about assisting with Obamacare implementation; instead, what landed in his inbox last month was a document filled with the names, Social Security numbers and other pieces of personal information belonging to his fellow Minnesotans. 

In one of the first breaches of the new Obamacare online marketplaces, an employee of the Minnesota marketplace, called MNsure, accidentally emailed Koester a document containing personally identifying information for more than 2,400 insurance agents, the Minnesota Star Tribune reported. MNsure was able to quickly undo the damage because Koester cooperated with them, but the incident left him unnerved.

The more I thought about it, the more troubled I was,” Koester told the newspaper. “What if this had fallen into the wrong hands? It’s scary. If this is happening now, how can clients of MNsure be confident their data is safe?” 

Online marketplaces like MNsure, called exchanges, are now running in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as part of the changes established under the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment began on Tuesday, and as many as 7 million people are expected to sign up for private insurance plans on the exchanges in the next six months. Personal information for all of those customers will be routed from a federal datahub to the state-based exchanges, leaving people like Koester, and some health data experts, concerned about the program’s security.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just How Much Did Tech Companies Play Footsie With the NSA?

 

 

 

” How complicit are tech companies in the National Security Agency’s massive spying scheme? They certainly bear some responsibility, but the rules under which the surveillance is conducted make it unclear — perhaps deliberately — the extent to which companies have resisted or folded, and also limit the channels available to the more privacy-minded to put up a fight.

News reports make it clear that many companies not only cooperated with the NSA, but even modified their systems to allow government spooks easier access to data. Others are known to have been less willing to make life easy for snoops.

Make no mistake, even the Twitters of the world are required to surrender information about their users when ordered to do so under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. And, they are forbidden to tell targeted users, civil liberties advocates or the public at large anything about such orders. Resistant companies can appeal, but only through the secretive process allowed them by the law. And we know that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved all but one of the 1,856 surveillance requests it received in 2012. One was withdrawn. None were disapproved. So, even the most privacy-minded tech executives have limited options when it comes to protecting their cutomers’ information.

From Reuters:

U.S. Internet companies that want to resist government demands to hand over customer data for intelligence investigations have few legal options, due to the classified nature of such probes and a court review process shrouded in secrecy.

Some of the complaints about government pressure from business executives are, no doubt, sincere. But take them all with a grain of salt.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Collecting Tax Payer Information From Facebook And Twitter

 

 

IRS_Spying_Social_Media

 

 

“WASHINGTON –

You have until April 15th to file a return – and the IRS will be collecting a lot more than just taxes this year.

According to several reports, the agency will also be collecting personal information from sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The government has said it would only check a Facebook page or twitter account if there is already red flag in a tax form.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education Dept. Helps Leak Students’ Personal Data

 

 

 

 

” States and schools are signing over private data from millions of students to companies and researchers who hope to glean secrets of the human mind.

Nine states have sent dossiers on students —including names, Social Security numbers, hobbies, addresses, test scores, attendance, career goals, and attitudes about school —to a public-private database , according to Reuters. Standardized tests are beginning to incorporate psychological and behavioral assessment. Every state is also building databases to collect and share such information among agencies and companies, and the U.S. Department of Education has recently reinterpreted federal privacy laws so that schools and governments don’t have to tell parents their kids’ information has been shared.

Second, students and their guardians should have full access to their own records, with the ability to correct false information. They also should be informed of and able to opt out of all data-sharing involving their records. Schools need parent consent to give children so much as an aspirin. They should get consent to share a student’s psychological evaluations or test performances.”

 

 

 

 

University Discloses Students’ Grades, Disciplinary History When They Apply For Gun Permits

 

 

 

” The University of  may have broken federal guidelines by sharing with the local sheriff’s department private information about students who apply for campus gun permits.

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, public universities are required to keep secret personal information on students, such as their grades and addresses. But Iowa has been sending personal information regarding students who apply for campus gun permits to the sheriff’s office.

That information includes whether students received bad grades, or were exhibiting signs of depression or anger.”

 

Energy Department Networks Hit By Sophisticated Cyber Attack

 

 

 

 

” Computer networks at the Energy Department were attacked by sophisticated hackers in a major cyber incident two weeks ago and personal information on several hundred employees was compromised by the intruders.

Energy Department officials, along with FBI agents, are investigating the attack on servers at the Washington headquarters. They believe the sophisticated penetration attack was not limited to stealing personal information. There are indications the attackers had other motives, possibly including plans to gain future access to classified and other sensitive information.

No classified information was compromised in the cyber attack, said officials who provided details of the attack to the Washington Free Beacon on condition of anonymity.”