Personal info found on state computers set for public sale

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 10 at 6:31 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A state audit found personal information on an estimated nine percent of computers once used by state employees.

The computers were about to be sold to the public from a surplus warehouse in Tumwater.

Investigators found social security numbers, birth dates, medical records and even a psychiatric evaluation on the computers.

"Is there information that's more confidential than this," asked Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.

By state law, agencies must delete all personal information from hard drives before submitting the computers for surplus sales.

Kelley said in some instances it appeared agencies made attempts to delete the information, but did not check to see if the scrubbing worked.

"Some humans make mistakes," said Washington's Chief Informational Officer, Michael Cockrill.

Cockrill said since the audit, two inspectors are now checking the hard drives of all the computers and `they are sent to a state prison in Airway Heights where a corrections officer runs hardware deletion software on the drives.

The state has sold thousands of old state computers for more than 20 years, according to the Department of Enterprise Services.

The auditor said his investigators did not find any identity theft cases tied to old state computers.

Related links:

Document: WA Auditor report on disposition of state-owned computers and privacy

 

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