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Companies Lose Private Data Too

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By Allan Holmes May 17, 2007

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Government workers aren't the only individuals who lose laptops, hard drives and computer tapes containing personal information. Private-sector employees, even those working for companies hired to protect personal data, do too, as IBM recently experienced. The company announced this week that it had lost tapes containing personal information including Social Security numbers for an undisclosed number of current and former IBM employees.

The loss is particularly uncomfortable for IBM, because, as ComputerWorld points out in an article on the loss, IBM lost the "personal employee data even though parts of its business and solutions portfolio are dedicated to securing and protecting that very type of private data for customers."

Still, that doesn't stop the public from complaining loudly and sharply about government agencies' failure to protect personal data. A case in point is a recent USA Today opinion piece, which Tech Insider linked to in a post. The article prompted one reader to comment, "Reading comments on a USA Today article should be mandatory for federal managers, so each can understand the proportion of USA Today readers who detest government and government employees."

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