TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Stolen UC Berkeley Laptop Exposes Personal Data of 100,000

Stolen UC Berkeley Laptop Exposes Personal Data of 100,000

Marcus Didius Falco (
Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:45:45 -0500

--- Forwarded Message
From: Ari Ollikainen < >
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 15:57:17 -0800
To: David Farber < t>
Subject: Stolen UC Berkeley laptop exposes personal data of nearly 100,000

For IP ...

WHEN will they ever learn? [WHEN THEY CAN BE HELD LIABLE DJF] WHY was
personal information other than a name and a NON-SSN ID on a laptop?

Stolen UC Berkeley laptop exposes personal data of nearly 100,000

- By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer
Monday, March 28, 2005

(03-28) 15:11 PST San Francisco (AP) --

A thief has stolen a computer laptop containing personal information
about nearly 100,000 University of California, Berkeley alumni,
graduate students and past applicants, continuing a recent outbreak of
security breakdowns that has illustrated society's growing
vulnerability to identity theft.

University officials announced the March 11 theft on Monday under a
state law requiring that consumers be notified whenever their Social
Security numbers or other sensitive information has been breached.

Notifying all of the 98,369 people affected by the UC Berkeley laptop
theft could prove difficult because some of the students received
their doctorate degrees nearly 30 years ago, university officials

The stolen laptop contained the Social Security numbers of UC
Berkeley students who received their doctorates from 1976 through
1999, graduate students enrolled at the university between fall 1989
and fall 2003 and graduate school applicants between fall 2001 and
spring 2004. Some graduate students in other years also were affected.

The stolen computer files also included the birth dates and addresses
of about one-third of the affected people.

University police suspect the thief was more interested in swiping a
computer than people's identities, UC Berkeley spokeswoman Maria
Felde said. She said there been no evidence so far that the stolen
information has been used for identify theft. Scam artists often use
the data to borrow money by posing as someone else.

The UC Berkeley theft follows several other high profile instances in
which businesses and colleges have lost control of personal
information that they kept in computer databases.

Recent breaches have occurred at ChoicePoint Inc., a consumer data
firm duped into distributing personal information about 145,000
people; Lexis-Nexis, where computer hackers obtained access to the
personal information of 32,000 people; and Chico State University,
where a computer hacking job exposed 59,000 people to potential
identity theft.


Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people
who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
--Mark Twain

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