Breach, Data Security

Information of students and employees at six Florida colleges exposed

The confidential information of students and employees at six Florida community colleges was publicly available on the internet for five days due to a state library service center software glitch.

How many victims? 126,000.

What type of personal information? Unspecified data that is protected under Florida state law. This means it may have included names, Social Security numbers and driver's license or Florida information card numbers. Compromised information did not include financial or library records.

What happened? The College Center for Library Automation (CCLA), which provides services and resources to Florida's public colleges, determined the breach happened as a result of a software upgrade.

The information was available online from May 29 to June 2. Six state community college colleges were affected because their borrower records were contained in temporary work files that were being processed at the time the breach occurred. The library agency learned of the incident on June 23, after a student reported finding personal information through a Google search.

Officials from the library agency said they believe the information was viewed by unauthorized individuals, but there is no evidence the data has been misused.

Details: Employees and students were affected at Broward College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Northwest Florida State College, Pensacola State College, South Florida Community College and Tallahassee Community College.

Quote: "We pride ourselves on protecting private information and deeply regret this inadvertent exposure," said Richard Madaus, CEO of CCLA. "I apologize to those involved for any worry or inconvenience this may cause them. We will continue to enhance our technology to safeguard all of the information entrusted to us."

What was the response? Affected individuals are being notified by letter. Additionally, the agency began an investigation after discovering the breach, and the case has also been turned over to the county sheriff's office.

Source:, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “Broward College student data exposed,” Aug. 10, 2010.

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