Breach, Threat Management, Data Security

First arrested, then exposed: Maine sheriff leaks inmate SSNs

The Cumberland County sheriff's office in Portland, Maine accidentally posted inmates' Social Security numbers to the department's Facebook page.

How many victims? Approximately 180.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers.

What happened? A new computer program that allows arrest lists to be automatically posted to the agency's Facebook page, and subsequently sent to media outlets, was placed into a default setting during a system update that did not remove inmates' personal information. 

What was the response? The sheriff's office advised those affected to be on the lookout for suspicious activity in their financial and personal accounts.

Details: The Social Security numbers posted were of individuals who had been arrested between Aug. 27 and Sept. 4, briefly placed in jail and then released. The Cumberland County sheriff said the personal information had been online no longer than 45 minutes on Tuesday, before being removed. Officials estimate around 50 people, including the media members, may have had access to the sensitive data.

Source:, Bangor Daily News, Sheriff Department's Social Security numbers breach poses privacy concerns,” Sept. 7, 2012.

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.