TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: IRS Laptop Lost With Data on 291 People

IRS Laptop Lost With Data on 291 People

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 11 Jun 2006 21:13:33 -0400

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer

An Internal Revenue Service employee lost an agency laptop early last
month that contained sensitive personal information on 291 workers and
job applicants, a spokesman said yesterday.

The IRS's Terry L. Lemons said the employee checked the laptop as
luggage aboard a commercial flight while traveling to a job fair and
never saw it again. The computer contained unencrypted names, birth
dates, Social Security numbers and fingerprints of the employees and
applicants, Lemons said. Slightly more than 100 of the people affected
were IRS employees, he said. No tax return information was in the
laptop, he said.

"The data was not encrypted, but it was protected by a double-password
system," Lemons said. "To get in to this personal data on there, you
would have to have two separate passwords."

Lemons said the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax
administration is investigating the loss. The IRS is notifying
affected individuals and advising them on steps to guard against
identity theft. Lemons declined to name the airline or the employee,
or to say whether the worker was disciplined, citing the ongoing

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