What's the Punishment for Leaking Vital Government Data?

Dennis Faas's picture

Ever wonder what kind of punishment a government employee might receive for leaking the personal information of John Q. Public? Here's your answer in a nutshell: a week's vacation.

The man who'll have less time this year to lounge on tropical beaches is one Jerry Miller, payroll team leader for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. Miller is behind the agency's Administrative Knowledge System, or OAKS, and last month was found responsible for losing a tape containing data on nearly 65,000 state employees, 20,000 former state employees, and worst of all almost 50,000 Ohio taxpayers.

Surprisingly, the penalty may actually fit the fault. Miller wasn't the one who lost the tape; instead, it was stolen from the car of an intern who was carrying it at the time. There's no word on whether that person will be held responsible, although it's a fair guess to assume that they won't soon be taking up a permanent position with the government of Ohio.

Just how costly is the lost tape?

According to state officials, a whopping $3 million. It means the state and everyone working for it had better shape up, and shape up fast.

"One lesson that the state learned is that we need to throw more resources at security and privacy when we have an issue like that," said Ron Sylvester, a representative of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). "The next time the state takes on a project of this scope, we're going to have people on the job whose major responsibility is just data security," he concluded. (Source: pcworld.com)

So, is the penalty, in the end, appropriate? That may be up to Ohio's fine citizens to determine. Still, it's hard to truly guilt anyone in the DAS; neither the intern nor Miller demonstrated criminal behavior or intent (although the latter did neglect to move the sensitive data to a safer location). Sylvester referred to Miller as a "stellar longtime DAS employee". (Source: cincypost.com)

Now to figure out just what might happen to that leaked data...

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