Maryland Department of General Services Police Investigating Theft of Laptops Containing Information of MDE Personal Information

Press Release

 

Maryland Department of the Environment

Media Contacts

Robert Ballinger
(410) 537-3012

Maryland Department of General Services Police Investigating Theft of Laptops Containing Information of MDE Personal Information

(Baltimore, Md.) November 21, 2008 – The Maryland Department of General Services police are investigating the theft of two Department of Information Technology laptop computers. One of the computers contained a data file with the names and Social Security numbers of 1,367 employees who were assigned to the Maryland Department of the Environment from January 2000 through October 2006. The laptop computers were reported stolen from a secured State Office at 300 W. Preston Street in Baltimore on November 12, 2008. The computers are equipped with a commercial security utility that is activated as soon as the devices are connected to the Internet. This security utility initiates a data deletion on the stolen computer using a Department of Defense approved algorithm and also assists police in tracking and recovering the missing equipment.

At this time, the State has no evidence that personal data were actually retrieved or misused. However, in accordance with state law, the Maryland Department of Information Technology is making every reasonable effort to notify by mail or e-mail all 1,367 individuals whose names and Social Security numbers were on the computer and, as a precaution, suggest they consider placing a fraud alert on their credit reporting accounts.

However, because some personnel data is more than eight years old, officials may not find current addresses for every name on the list. The Department of Information Technology has created a special website for individuals who are concerned that their information may have been on the stolen computer: http://doit.maryland.gov/mdealert. The web site contains questions and answers as well as a memorandum with helpful phone numbers, information on next steps to take, and links to credit reporting agencies.

The Department of Information Technology has also set up a phone number and e-mail address to assist users in obtaining answers to specific questions not addressed on the website: (410) 260-7778 and servicedesk@doit.state.md.us/mdealert.

The Social Security numbers were used to identify and track attendance and leave balances of Maryland Department of the Environment employees. The Social Security numbers are commonly used by the State to access historical information regarding employees.



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