;

Spotlight on: Campus Safety Conference


The Campus Safety Conference is a 2-day intense conference for administrators and public safety officials, security and law enforcement executives from all over the country looking for solutions to campus safety, security, emergency management and technology challenges.
Close

WSU Stolen Hard Drive Contained Over One Million People’s Personal Data

The stolen hard drive contained information such as Social Security numbers and personal health information.

WSU Stolen Hard Drive Contained Over One Million People’s Personal Data

The hard drive was kept in a safe in an off-campus storage container.

Washington State University is paying heftily after a backup hard drive containing personal data of over one million people was stolen.

A safe containing the backup hard drive was taken from an off-site storage container in Olympia on April 21. The hard drive belonged to the school’s Social & Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC), according to Q13 Fox.

WSU released a statement following the incident, stating “The drive contained documents that included personal information such as names, Social Security numbers and, in some cases, personal health information. Entities that provided data to the SESRC include school districts, community colleges, and other customers.”

The hard drive contained data from 1998 to 2013, according to WSU spokesman Phil Weiler.

The school began mailing letters to those affected by the theft on June 9. They also set up a dedicated call center for any questions.

“We have no indication that the information on the hard drive has been accessed or misused in any way,” read part of the letter. “However, as a precaution, we are notifying you of this incident and offering you a complimentary one-year membership to Experian’s ProtectMayID Alert.”

The one-year membership of free credit monitoring will cost the school approximately $10 per person, according to the Seattle Times. Thus far, 8,367 people have accepted the offer, costing the school an additional $80,000.

The postage alone for the one million mailed letters will cost the school between $383,000 and $465,000.

Weiler says the school has a $150,000 deductible under its “breach response” insurance policy with Beazley USA.

The personal information was from individuals who participated in studies and evaluations conducted by the SESRC, according to the school.

However, some who received the letters claim to have never participated in any sort of study with the school, leaving them to wonder how the school could have obtained their personal information.

Tommy Bell is one of those people. “I went to Western Washington,” he said. “I attended Whatcom Community College. Maybe the schools shared it. I don’t really know.”

WSU said the reason it was able to access information such as Social Security numbers was due to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which allows schools to conduct studies on behalf of public agencies.

About the Author

Contact:

Amy Brennan is the Campus Safety Web Editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

Add Another Layer of Protection to your Campus

If you’re responsible for protecting a campus — whether at a hospital, K-12 school, college or university — then Campus Safety magazine is a must-read, and it’s free! As the only publication devoted to those public safety, security and emergency management personnel, issues cover all aspects of safety measures, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification, and security staff practices.

Take advantage of a free subscription to Campus Safety today, and add its practical insights, product updates and know-how to your toolkit. Subscribe today!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletters

Campus Safety Heroes

Campus Safety Heroes

Campus Safety honors those who keep their hospital, school or university campus safer.

See our latest Heroes, nominees and content.