Bush administration: personal data leaks and invasion of privacy

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

Reports of personal data leaks and incidences of invasion of privacy under the watch of the Bush administration are on the rise.

"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." [1] 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." [2]

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. [3] 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. [4][5]

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