Former Computer Department Employees Sue Ohio U.

ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio University (OU) has been sued by two computer specialists who were recently fired. Both accuse the school of destroying records during a recent investigation into OU’s network breaches.

In the lawsuit, the two former employees, Tom Reid and Todd Acheson, allege that Naperville, Ill.-based Moran Technology, which was hired by OU to investigate the electronic data thefts, was the firm that actually destroyed the records. Reid, who was director of OU’s computer services department, and Acheson, the school’s former Internet and systems manager, want to be paid $1,000 for each record eliminated.

Moran Technology officials admitted that records were destroyed but said they didn’t realize the interview notes and documents were subject to Ohio’s public records law. The firm used the files to prepare a critique of OU’s computer and network division. According to an official at Moran, they usually destroy records after an audit.

School officials are saying the destruction of documents was not authorized by them. According to the Associated Press, Moran’s contract stated OU should keep the report’s supporting documentation.

If Reid and Acheson win their lawsuit, they could be awarded $1,000 per record plus legal fees.

The lawsuit is the latest development affecting OU’s beleaguered IT department. Earlier this year, five computer security breaches were discovered. It is estimated they resulted in the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of approximately 173,000 individuals being exposed.

Upgrades totaling approximately $8 million are planned to resolve the problems. The upgrades include a perimeter firewall, additional employees and security staff, and the ability to remove existing Social Security numbers from computer records, encrypting those that remain for university purposes.

OU officials expect the new system will help eliminate security violations and plan to reorganize program functions so that students and faculty will find them more efficient. According to administrators, these system renovations should be completed within a year.

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