Army beneficiaries notified of lost laptop

The U.S. Army Medical Department Activity in the Bavaria region of Germany lost a laptop containing the personal data on thousands of patients. But the computer was encrypted.

How many victims? 6,000.

What type of personal information? Names, Social Security numbers and health data.

What happened? The laptop went missing Oct. 4 by an employee who was en route to a temporary duty assignment. The employee apparently lost the machine, which was contained in a backpack, while at a train station in Nuremberg.

What was the response? Victims weren't notified until Nov. 24. Army officials blamed the delay on bureaucracy, privacy concerns and the time required to gather accurate information.

Details: Officials said the laptop was protected by encryption and access controls.

Source:, Stars and Stripes, "Army waited to tell of possible security breach," Dec. 2, 2008.

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