FYI to all AO Members Who Are US Vets: Veterans Sue VA over Data Loss
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Thread: FYI to all AO Members Who Are US Vets: Veterans Sue VA over Data Loss

  1. #1
    Senior Member genXer's Avatar
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    FYI to all AO Members Who Are US Vets: Veterans Sue VA over Data Loss

    I'm surprised it took this long:

    WASHINGTON—Claiming that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "flagrantly disregarded the privacy rights of essentially every man or woman to have worn a United States military uniform," veterans groups today filed a massive class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

    The suit asks that the courts prohibit the VA from handling any personal, privacy protected data except under court supervision, and that the court create a set of "consensus minimal security standards" under which the VA can operate.

    The suit also asks for damages of $1,000 for every person listed in the missing database files.
    According to the suit, the information was unencrypted and easily available.
    Wheee!
    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1972946,00.asp

    For me, as a vet, I don't want any money, just reimbursement if I have to pay for any credit reports and fixing my credit because of this, but just that they need controls in place to protect that data! Put the money towards that. But I want an outside audit firm to confirm controls are in place and are working.

    Oh... wait... an update - oh boy - it just gets better:

    VA: Data Theft Bigger than Reported

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson has revealed that the data stolen from an employee's home in Maryland in May included personal information on over 1 million active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel.

    Nicholson said the new information came to light when the Department of Defense compared electronic files.
    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1973260,00.asp

    Now they are "saying" that it was a smash and grab, however you may wish to keep track of your transactions and check with at least one of the Credit Bureaus (you can get a free credit report if there is fraud involved, or you can buy a 3-in-1 report) at your earliest convenience:

    Equifax: http://www.equifax.com/

    Experian: http://www.experian.com/

    Transunion: http://www.transunion.com/index.jsp
    \"We\'re the middle children of history.... no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We\'ve all been raised by television to believe that one day we\'ll all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars -- but we won\'t. And we\'re learning slowly that fact. And we\'re very, very pissed off.\" - Tyler (Brad Pitt) Fight Club.

  2. #2
    The ******* Shadow dalek's Avatar
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    As troubling as it is for the Vets, just think how demoralizing it is going to be for those on "active" service to hear this bit of news, not like having to worry about suicide bombers, now they have to worry about ID Theft, after they get to come home... because of people who they place their trust in, screwed up...shameful...
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  3. #3
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    Great another bone to toss the lawyers who feed on fear. I think its BS and the dudes involved should be fired along with their bosses. But the real crime here is not the va however. It is the criminals. sue them. Caution coffee is hot and your data is everywhere.
    West of House
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  4. #4
    T3h Ch3F
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    .....................

    They might as well put my $1000.00 towards my funeral expenses as that is about the time frame I expect anything from the V.A.

    Get some good religion from Bad Religion.

  5. #5
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by RoadClosed
    Caution coffee is hot and your data is everywhere.
    But don't you think that service members have some right to expect their information to be safe with the VA? I mean to follow your thought a little further - your data is everywhere, it's your responsibility to keep it safe and keep people from having it, so maybe since the VA can't keep it safe, not joining the military because your data might be lost is the best plan?
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  6. #6
    Disgruntled Postal Worker fourdc's Avatar
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    Working for the government, I discovered a long time ago that a lot of the rules and laws that the private sector follow are totally ignored by the government itself.

    If this had been a contracted firm or an outside hospital, they'd have to file bankruptcy for all the government fines they'd be paying.

    On another note any of those people who's state uses SSN as driving license #s you've already been co-opted. Privacy is an illusion you haven't had it for a long time. We will probably never get it back.

    I think a greater emphasis should be placed on validation of new credit accounts. When I opened a custodial bank account for my son, we both had to provide IDs to prove who we were ( for a $200 passbook account). Under the Patriot Act, we had to prove we weren't laundering money.

    Why is it I can open a credit account for $5000 with my SSN and a phone call?
    ddddc

    "Somehow saying I told you so just doesn't cover it" Will Smith in I, Robot

  7. #7
    Senior Member genXer's Avatar
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    I wore an onion on my belt... cuz that was the style at the time...

    Back in my day (oh Lord - I'm already that old - heh) everything, and I mean everything was done by your SSN and your last name. From your orders to clothing inventory had your SSN on it. I went through and shredded as much of the old paperwork I could, saving some for the memories, just because of that. However, back then (yeesh!) securing data like that was not at the forefront; getting those great wool socks wuz!

    I am interested to see what happens with this. I'm not favoring a lawsuit, other than to fix the areas that need addressing; and I say the lawsuit, because maybe certain people would actually move and get the work done.

    It also makes me wonder, how many other agencies are facing something like this soon? Or already have and just don't know it yet? Or they do know it and the public just doesn't know yet?
    \"We\'re the middle children of history.... no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We\'ve all been raised by television to believe that one day we\'ll all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars -- but we won\'t. And we\'re learning slowly that fact. And we\'re very, very pissed off.\" - Tyler (Brad Pitt) Fight Club.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Hi genXer I think that you have a point there, and that this sort of thing is far more prevalent than people imagine.

    You may recall that scandal in the Japanese Defence Department a few months ago where staff were taking classified information home to work on

    Staff are being virtually blackmailed into working the extra hours, and naturally, they want to be with their families.

    OK, I have done design and development stuff and prepared presentations at home, but never anything that involved more than the lowest level of corporate confidentiality, and certainly not statutorily protected information.

    I honestly believe that some of these people could seriously benefit from a teamwork, delegation and time management course?


  9. #9
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    Working for the government, I discovered a long time ago that a lot of the rules and laws that the private sector follow are totally ignored by the government itself.
    That it totally true and in one sense I am glad. Forcing compliance on the government does one thing. Make them BIGGER.

    On the flip side sometime they are more stringent, but not often


    But don't you think that service members have some right to expect their information to be safe with the VA? I mean to follow your thought a little further - your data is everywhere, it's your responsibility to keep it safe and keep people from having it, so maybe since the VA can't keep it safe, not joining the military because your data might be lost is the best plan?
    Yes I do, I stated those involved and their bosses should be fired. That is corrective action. Not some slime ball lawyers forcing the government to pass even more legistaltion and making millions of mine and YOUR tax money using the backs of vets. This guy may have made the mistake of taking stuff home on his laptop but many programmers DO take stuff home. It was in his house and like a VA office or Bank office someone can break in a steal it. That does not mean the bank or business should go bankrupt because some ass wipe thinks everyone but him has to pay.

    We give our data out everywhere. And there individial cases of ID theft, IF they were to happen should be taken care of in local courts.
    West of House
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    There is a small mailbox here.

  10. #10
    AOs Resident Troll
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    According to the VA, an employee took home electronic data containing the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for millions of veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. The data didn't include any of the VA's electronic health records and financial records. The data was stolen when an employee's home was burglarized.
    From

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895...06dtx1k0000599

    Doesnt this have to do with the agencies AUP......why was that data allowed to be removed and brought home by the user...and if it was allowed ..........why wasnt it encrypted????

    If the user needed to access the information... arent there more secure ways for the employee to have access...then to copy and take home.

    Why would any luser need to have 26 million personal records on a laptop in the first place....

    From my experience............................I would wager the user was upper management....

    Most of them beleive they are somehow "above" the rules\laws

    MLF
    How people treat you is their karma- how you react is yours-Wayne Dyer

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