State Asks for Help in Data Theft

HILLIARD, OHIO (AP) -- Authorities are still looking for the computer backup device taken from an intern's car in Hilliard last month.  Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has said the device contained the names and Social Security numbers of thousands of taxpayers and state employees.

Hilliard police and the Highway Patrol trooper have handed out or mailed a postcard to nearly one-thousand residents near the Hilliard apartment complex where the device was stolen on June 11th.

The card says "WE NEED YOUR HELP" in bold letters and asks anyone with information to call a toll-free tip line.

The card also addresses the thieves -- say that if they have the device, they can mail it anonymously to a PO box.

The computer storage device contained Social Security numbers and other personal information on all 64,467 state employees.  According the governor, data management standards at the intern's worksite call for one set of backup data to be stored off-site and the intern had been inappropriately designated to store the data at his home.

The governor says the data was on a specialized computer storage device, so it's highly unlikely that the data could be accessed by someone without specialized knowledge.  The governor has ordered a review of the events that led to the data being stolen, and will take appropriate disciplinary action when the facts are known.

The investigation showed the device contained personal employee information after reviewing 338,634 files in 24,333 folders over four days.  Tuesday it appeared that some of those 338,634 files might have contained names and social security numbers.  After two days of review, it was determined that the names and social security numbers for all state employees were on the device.

The state also launched a website -- -- to provide information for employees and the public regarding the situation.

Posted by AEB