TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Another LapTop Missing: This Time, From Red Cross

Another LapTop Missing: This Time, From Red Cross

Associated Press News Wire (
Sat, 1 Jul 2006 21:18:34 -0500

DALLAS (AP) - A laptop containing personal information from thousands
of blood donors -- including Social Security numbers and medical
information -- was stolen from a local office of the American Red
Cross, but officials said the information was encrypted.

The data included matching names and birth dates of donors from Texas
and Oklahoma, as well as donors' sexual and disease histories.

"We haven't viewed this as a security breach at this point," Darren
Irby, spokesman for the national American Red Cross office, told The
Dallas Morning News for its Saturday editions.

The laptop was one of three stolen from a locked closet in the Farmers
Branch office of the American Red Cross in May, but the two others did
not contain the personal information. There was no sign of forced
entry, said Red Cross spokeswoman Audrey Lundy.

Local officials alerted police and national Red Cross offices, Lundy
said. Donors were not notified about the missing information, and the
Red Cross claims it has no legal obligation to do so.

The laptops disappeared on two separate occasions in May, according to
police reports. They could have been gone as long as a week before
being reported missing.

Gordon Bass, acting chief information security officer for the
national Red Cross, said supervisors have their own user names and
passwords. Access is time-and-date based, so information can be
accessed only during blood drives or when new information is uploaded
to a central database.

The Farmers Branch Red Cross also lost a laptop with encrypted donor
information in June 2005, Lundy said, but she could provide no details
on circumstances of that incident or any follow-up investigation.

Security in the Farmers Branch office was tightened after the most
recent disappearances, Lundy said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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