More Data Theft (was Ameriprise Notifies Clients of Data Theft)

The quoted story below informs us of a data theft involving 225,000 individuals.

Here in Portland, Oregon we're all reeling from the announcement by the Providence Hospital chain that about 365,000 patients of the hospital now have their records in the hands of a thief! Providence has a few major hospitals and numerous smaller clinics in Oregon. Both my wife and I have been patients of this major business player here in Portland.

It seems the IT staff at the hospital relied on employees taking CDs, disks and tapes home at night as their disaster recovery strategy! Well, it wasn't long before an employee had their car involved in a "smash and grab" with the thief taking the laptop bag complete with the backup records. That was back in December. The hospital's response was to keep quiet -- evidently the "don't say anything and deny everything" method of public relations was their protocol at Providence. Sooner or later, of course, the news got out and Providence had to own up to the problem.

Now, in the face of an impending Class Action suit, they're starting to play nice and tell us how important we are to Providence and how much they will help us resolve any issues that may arise from this situation.

Something not revealed so far is related to the mid-level manager that decided to send records to employee homes for safekeeping: did that manager get a nice promotion and a fat bonus? Also not revealed is, with their apparent cavilier approach to data integrity, how secure and accurate are medical records they maintain, pharmacy records, etc. There could, of course, be patient medical care issues mixed up in this now disclosed security problem.

Google or other search engines will help locate more information on this issue.

Telecom connection: St. Vincent's Hospital, now a mamber of the Providence chain, in the western suburbs of Portland was one of the first major users in Portland to install a privately owned PBX. This must have been in about 1970, shortly after the Carterphone decision. Their chosen switch was from Japan and had little support in the US - Pacific Northwest Bell was taken aback by this defection of one of thier previously good customers. Life goes on, of course, and now, "St. Vs" is still there and Pacific Northwest Bell has morphed into something much different than it was in 1970.



By STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press Writer > MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ameriprise Financial Inc. said Wednesday it has > notified about 226,000 people that their names and other personal data > were stored on a laptop computer that was stolen from an employee's > vehicle. > Ameriprise said it has alerted 68,000 current and former financial > advisers whose names and Social Security numbers were also stored on > the same computer. About 158,000 clients had only their names and > internal account numbers exposed. The company says it has more than 2 > million customers and about 10,500 current financial advisers. > Minneapolis-based Ameriprise said it had received no reports that the > data lost in the theft had been used improperly. Ameriprise is the > name of the former American Express Financial Advisors division, which > New York-based American Express Co. spun off last fall. > Ameriprise said the theft appeared to be a "random criminal act" and > that it has been working with law enforcement to recover the laptop, > which it said was stolen recently from an employee's locked vehicle > that was parked offsite. > Company spokesman Steve Connolly said the laptop was stolen in late > December outside Minnesota, but he declined to say where. > -
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Al Gillis
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