Laptop with the personal information of University of Minnesota political science students stolen

July 12, 2007
Who are the victims? Students enrolled in the classes of assistant professor Elizabeth Beaumont at the University of Minnesota since fall 2005.

What kind of personal information? The laptop included students’ names, email addresses, university identification numbers and grades.

Was the data encrypted? The files were not encrypted, although it is university policy to encrypt all nonpublic electronic information.

What was the response? Political Science Department Chair John Sullivan emailed affected students about the theft, saying the university assumes the laptop was stolen for its street value, not for the data stored on it.

Quotes: “I, of course feel horrendous about it,” said Beaumont. “I’m assuming that there’s not going to be any detrimental effects on my students.”

“The laptops are a security issue, of course,” said Ken Hanna, university director of information and technology. “They’ve got a process afoot to do the encryption. They’ve got the product…it just hadn’t been done yet.”

Source: The Minnesota Daily, July 11, “University-owned laptop with student data stolen
prestitial ad