Breach, Data Security, Network Security, Vulnerability Management

Data on 700K California home care workers, recipients lost


The personal information of home care workers and their elderly and disabled recipients may have been compromised when the storage device on which it was contained was lost in the mail.

How many victims? 700,000

What type of personal information? Full names, Social Security numbers, wages, and state identification numbers.

What happened? A package of microfiche containing the sensitive data was shipped last month by Hewlett-Packard via the U.S. Postal Service to a state In-Home Supportive Services office in Riverside, Calif. The package arrived tampered with and with some contents missing.

What was the response? The state notified authorities, and an internal investigation is underway. Notices have been sent to anyone affected by the breach. Officials are reviewing policies to avert future problems.

Details: The potentially hijacked information, dating from October to December 2011, was mailed April 26 and was received at the Riverside office on May 1. According to information posted on a state website, there was a weeklong delay before the state received word of the breach.

Quote: “It's hard for us to believe that in one of the largest states in the union, we're using such an antiquated system,” said Steve Mehlman, a labor union spokesman.

Source:, Los Angeles Times, “Personal data for home care workers, recipients lost in the mail,” May 12, 2012.

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