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Government secrets available at a thrift store

January 30, 2009 by  

A New Zealand man gained access to sensitive U.S. dataAfter a recent scathing report on federal agencies’ failure to comply with civil rights regulations, another story brings home the need for better oversight of sensitive data by the U.S. government.

A New Zealand man who bought an old MP3 player at an Oklahoma thrift store for $9 discovered that it contained 60 files with confidential military information including the names and personal details of American soldiers, according to New Zealand television reports.

"When you can identify American personnel, when you have their names, their home address, their cell phone numbers, you put people in a dangerous position," Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington was quoted as saying by CNN.

Pentagon officials contacted by the network admitted that they were aware of the situation, but declined to provide further comments.

This is hardly the first instance of government’s negligence in handling sensitive personal information. In 2006, a Department of Veterans Affairs subcontractor lost a computer with insurance claim data of patients at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia VA Medical Centers.

The story broke just days after a USA Today report listed several federal agencies which failed to appoint civil liberties protection officers and report to Congress on the efforts to safeguards private citizens’ personal information.

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  • Bob Livingston

    The revelation of government secrets is incidental to the wide practice of airing personal and private information in the U.S. It has a Machiavellian cover to it meaning that everything you pick up talks about privacy and all the companies are required to send out “privacy notices,” but in reality anybody can find out anything they wish about everybody. It is a cruel hoax and a cruel joke.

    The only way there could be any serious privacy is to cut all ties with society and move to the mountains.

    • redneck

      OK, move to the mountains, they are all owned by the environmentalists, bought by the govt. with your money!!! Don’t take your cel phone.As long as the batt is IN, it can be turned on by remote! And return your position and sounds to the govt!!! And your car built after 1986 can be turned off by radio signal and traced by radio, After 96 it can be monitored by satelite, There are also a lot of questions about the “new” digital converters for TV. More after we check this out…………………

      • ticked off

        where can you find confirmation regarding info on cars here ?

  • Vee

    What aren’t the government in volved in ! their just a bunch of damn crooks, stealing the people blind.
    Guess, Obama still has the spying going on, that Bush put in place.


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