Support Our Troops--Lose Their Info

Posted by wizeGurl (6237 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]


Let's say that you're one of the brave soldiers who have served your country honorably, earning yourself the right to a few veteran's benefits for your service. What's one way your Veteran's Administration can thank you?

Why, lose the personal information of as many as 26.5 million of you, of course. Names, birth dates, social security numbers...exactly what you'd need to steal the identity of a hardworking veteran with decent credit. Hey, who wants to open a credit card on Private Johnson's account?

That's right. A VA employee took home a laptop with all that info on it--something he wasn't actually allowed to do--where it was stolen when the man's house was robbed. Every veteran discharged since 1975, and any discharged earlier who filed for veteran's benefits, was on that laptop. And of course, the US government, concerned about its veterans, is offering free help to keep tabs on their financial records so they can spot any fraud quickly.

Hah! You believed that? Veterans can't even find out if their names were on the list or not. No help of any kind is being offered. In fact, the VA waited two whole weeks before asking the FBI to help it find the missing laptop.

And it's not as if the VA didn't know that they had a few security problems. They've been getting a security grade of F every year since 2001, with the exception of 2003, when someone must have accidentally turned on a firewall or something. Calls for better information security have been heard in the VA for years, with little sign of improvement. But buck up, folks--the VA Secretary has directed all VA employees to complete a computer security training course by the end of June. (Hear the sound of a barn door and rapidly disappearing hoofs, anyone?)

UPDATE * UPDATE * UPDATE
Interesting turn of events...the lastest news is that the personal information as many as 2.2 million U.S. military personnel--including nearly 80 percent of the current active-duty force--were also on that laptop.

But that's okay...there's no reason anyone could possibly want to impersonate a U.S. soldier during wartime.

Get more details.

 

Posted by wizeGurl on 2006-05-31 13:20:39
In related news, Iraqi War veteran and former congressional candidate Paul Hackett is suing the US government for not protecting veterans'data well enough. He's asking for $1000 per affected veteran, and for the government to pay for credit monitoring for them, to protect them from identity theft.

Seems like the latter is the least a caring government could do. I wonder if they will? And why it should take a lawsuit to get them to really support our troops in this matter?
 

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