Recently, a backup tape containing over 800,000 unencrypted names and social security numbers for Ohio taxpayers and state employees was stolen from the car of Jared Ilovar, a 22-year-old college student working for the state as an intern.
Ilovar was working as a network administrator for the state, and he was instructed by another intern that as the newest intern, it was his responsibility to rotate the daily backup tape, take the previous night’s tape when he left at night, bring it back the next day. He was not provided with any instructions for securing the tape after leaving the building.
His superiors made the decisions to keep 800,000 names and SSNs on unencrypted backup tapes; to send those tapes home with interns rather than contracting with a service for transporting and storing the tapes securely; and to not provide the interns with any sort of instructions for what to do with the tapes once they left the building.
After an “investigation” into how the tapes were stolen, those same superiors tried to browbeat Ilovar into signing a letter of resignation, and when he refused, they terminated his employment, blaming him for the loss of the backup tape. On the bright side, two contractors working for the state, including the one responsible for supervising the interns, were terminated as well.
There’s plenty about this on the Web; just Google for Jared Ilovar. What the State of Ohio did here is truly reprehensible.