Bush administration: personal data leaks and invasion of privacy
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
"Personal data security breaches are occurring with increasing regularity. Within the last few years, numerous examples of data such as Social Security numbers, bank account, credit card, driver’s license numbers, and medical and student records have been compromised," Information Research Specialist Rita Tehan of Knowledge Services Group wrote in the December 16, 2005, Congressional Research Service report on personal data security breaches.
Increasing Number of Incidents
In 2005, there were at least 152 disclosed incidents, "potentially affecting more than 57.7 million individuals."  On June 14, 2006, a report on disclosures for the year to date showed that there had already been at least 93 incidents, "potentially affecting more than 32,147,796 million individuals." 
U.S. Military at Risk 2006
In June 2006, two separate incidents affected millions of active duty and retired military members, as well as their families:
- June 6: It was learned that a laptop was stolen from a Veterans Administration employee which contained the personal information for approximately 26.5 million active duty and retired military, as well as for some dependents.  See U.S. Veterans' Data Files Stolen.
- June 23: It was learned that the social security numbers for members of the U.S. Navy had been posted on the internet. 
- Brian Williams, "U.S. government Web sites left internal databases open to Web," Newsbytes (attrition.org), March 29, 2002.
- Brad Foss, "JetBlue admits it gave passenger itineraries to defense contractor," Associated Press (Times-Argus (Barre, VT)), September 20, 2003.
- Declan McCullagh, "Treasury breaks word on e-mail anonymity," C|Net News, January 8, 2004.
- Bob Sullivan, "Government agency exposes day-care data. Daily whereabouts of hundreds of children posted on public Web site," MSNBC, February 8, 2004.
- Audrey Hudson, "U.S. agencies collect, examine personal data on Americans," Washington Times, May 28, 2004.
- Griff Witte, "Break-In At SAIC Risks ID Theft. Computers Held Personal Data on Employee-Owners," Washington Post, February 12, 2005. re government contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
- Daniel Pulliam, "Identity theft of FDIC employees leads to bank fraud, union says," GovExec.com, June 17, 2005.
- "Specter, Leahy Introduce. Personal Data Privacy And Security Act Of 2005," Office of Senator Patrick Leahy, June 29, 2005.
- Linda Rosencrance, "Air Force investigates data breach. Personal details on more than 33,000 officers compromised," ComputerWorld.com, August 19, 2005.
- Bob Sullivan, "Bad-news data letters push consumers to stray. Millions dump companies that leaked personal information, study finds," MSNBC, October 4, 2005.
- Alan Stafford, "Privacy in Peril. With identity thieves targeting big consumer databases, your data isn't just up for sale--it could be up for grabs," PCWorld, November 2005.
- "Personal Data Security Breaches: Context and Incident Summaries," Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress (Order Code RL33199), December 16, 2005. Prepared by Rita Tehan, Information Research Specialist, Knowledge Services Group.
- "2005 Disclosures of U.S. Data Incidents," TraceSecurity.com, January 19, 2006 (update).
- "Government accidentally releases farmers' Social Security numbers," Associated Press (News14 Carolina), February 16, 2006.
- Brian Krebs, "Invasion of the Computer Snatchers. Hackers are hijacking thousands of PCs to spy on users, shake down online businesses, steal identities and send millions of pieces of spam. If you think your computer is safe, think again," Washington Post, February 19, 2006.
- Leo Shane III, "Thousands of Marines may be at risk for identity theft after loss of portable drive," Stars and Stripes, March 30, 2006.
- Wade-Hahn Chan, "Intruders breach TMA server," FCW.com, April 28, 2006.
- Douglas Birch, "Does anyone have any privacy left?" Baltimore Sun, May 12, 2006.
- Patrick Howington, "Medicare chastises Humana. Patient data left on public computer," The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), June 3, 2006.
- Bob Sullivan, "Lost IRS laptop stored employee fingerprints. Hundreds notified they are at risk of ID theft, including some applicants," MSNBC, June 5, 2006.
- "Active-duty troops' data stolen from VA," USA TODAY, June 6, 2006. See U.S. Veterans' Data Files Stolen.
- Chris Baltimore, "Data on nuclear agency workers hacked: lawmaker," Reuters, June 9, 2006.
- "Report: Personal data on nuclear security workers stolen," C|Net News, June 9, 2006.
- "Personal data on thousands of Georgia workers posted on web," Associated Press (WISTv.com, Columbia, SC), June 12, 2006.
- Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston, "More of your information than you think might be online. Government Web sites often display Social Security numbers," CNN, June 14, 2006.
- "2006 Disclosures of U.S. Data Incidents," ID Theft Center, June 14, 2006 (update).
- Lyndsey Layton, "Laptop Stolen From D.C. Home. Computer Had Social Security Numbers of 13,000 City Workers, Retirees," Washington Post, June 18, 2006.
- Andy Vuong, "Book: First Data gave feds records," Washington and the West Blog/Denver Post, June 21, 2006: According to Ron Suskind in The One Percent Doctrine (book 2006), "Colorado’s First Data Corp., the world’s largest processor of credit-card transactions and wire transfers, gave the FBI and CIA unfettered access to data on millions of customers shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, ... First Data’s computer systems served as the 'FBI’s own in-house search engine,' and the CIA was allowed to monitor money-wire transactions in real time."
- Brian Krebs, "FTC Laptop Theft Exposes Consumer Data," Washington Post, June 22, 2006.
- Libby Quaid, "Hacker enters Agriculture dept. computers," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 22, 2006.
- Anne Broache, "Hacker may have pilfered personal data from USDA," C|Net News (ZDNet), June 22, 2006.
- "A Chronology of Data Breaches Reported Since the ChoicePoint Incident," Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, April 20, 2005; updated June 23, 2006.
- Jeremy Kirk, "FTC Laptops Stolen, Along With Personal Data. Computers were stolen from a locked vehicle, government agency says," IDG News Service (PCWorld), June 23, 2006.
- "Sailors' Social Security Nos. on Web Site," Associated Press (Money Central/MSN.com), June 23, 2006.
- Doug Thompson, "Land of the wretched, home of the spied upon," Capitol Hill Blue, June 23, 2006.
- Lisa Hoffman, "Big brother is watching, but who's watching big brother?" Capitol Hill Blue, June 23, 2006.
- Lolita C. Baldor, "Sailors' Personal Data Posted on the Web," Associated Press (Chicago Tribune), June 24, 2006.
- Tom Raum, "Another questionable expansion of Bush's power," Associated Press (Capitol Hill Blue), June 24, 2006.
- Jonathan Turley, "'Big Brother' Bush and Connecting the Data Dots. The Total Information Awareness program was killed in 2003, but its spawn present bigger threats to privacy," Los Angeles Times (Common Dreams), June 24, 2006.
- Emily Bazar and Kevin Johnson, "VA data recovered with informant's help," USA Today, updated June 30, 2006.
- "Stolen laptop with military data found. FBI: Initial tests show veterans' information not access," CNN, June 30, 2006.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Bush administration cronyism and incompetence
- Bush administration leaks
- Bush administration scandals
- Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006
- data mining
- domestic spying
- Domestic Spying Leak Investigation
- George W. Bush's bank records spying
- George W. Bush's domestic spying
- George W. Bush's Domestic Spying: Legal or Illegal?
- George W. Bush's domestic spying: SourceWatch Resources
- George W. Bush's phone records spying
- identity theft
- internet surveillance
- Operation TIPS
- Patriot Act I
- Patriot Act abuses
- Patriot Act II
- personal surveillance
- The case for impeachment of President George W. Bush
- Total Information Awareness
- U.S. Veterans' Data Files Stolen