Personal Information Still at Risk in Utah State Agencies

Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R)
Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R)

In March of last year, disturbing news came from the Utah Department of Health – nearly

280,000 Utahns had their Social Security Numbers stolen and an additional 500,000 had less sensitive personal data taken from state computers.

To help combat this, Senator Stewart Reid (R – Ogden) proposed and passed SB 20 – State Security Standards For Personal Info, a bill specifically designed to protect the personal data of those applying for healthcare benefits from the state, and direct Utah’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) to reach out to those in the tech industry to find ways to better secure citizens’ data.

It appears that the CIO needs to work a little faster.

Last Wednesday, Fox 13 News reported that, after a suspicious car fire took place on Salt Lake’s west side, the investigation revealed that an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles, administered by the Utah State Tax Comission, “admitted to using her computer access, as an employee of the Utah State Division of Motor Vehicles to illegally acquire personal information about private citizens.”

The Fox13 report continues: “The Utah State Tax Commission…said the information that was allegedly accessed includes names, addresses and the make, model and vehicle identification number. But officials with the agency acknowledged it is hard to know how widespread the data breach is.”

It appears that data breeches are more frequent and wide spread than previously thought within state government, and current laws may not be enough.

After the data breach last year, Governor Gary Herbert held a press conference to announced in detail the State’s response to the health and Medicaid data that was stolen – vowing a full scale investigation of state systems.

Utahns worry every day (or at least they should) about which online outlets they are willing to share their personal information with. Scam websites sometimes seem to outnumber the legitimate these days, and it’s not always crystal clear which is which. But if there’s one outlet that should be able to keep our personal information  and data secure, it’s our own government.

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