Breach, Data Security

Charlotte, N.C. notifies thousands of city workers of data loss

The city of Charlotte, N.C. recently notified thousands of current and former city employees that their personal information went missing in the mail.

How many victims? 5,220.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers for all those affected and prescription-drug information for five individuals.

What happened? Two DVDs containing the sensitive information failed to arrive at the offices of Towers Watson & Co., the city's benefits consulting firm, based in Atlanta. The city of Charlotte was notified of the lapse on Feb. 23 and has blamed a mail-service provider working with Towers Watson.

Details: The files on the DVDs were not encrypted and thus were in violation of Towers Watson's policies.

What was the response? The city has notified all affected individuals, the North Carolina attorney general's office and the secretary of health and human services.

Towers Watson has offered affected individuals two years of free identity-theft monitoring services.

Source:, Charlotte Business Journal, “Charlotte loses data on 5,220 city workers,” May 26, 2010.

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