Personal data on all 64,467 of Ohio's state employees and tens of thousands of others, including Ohio teachers and individuals receiving health care benefits in the state, was stolen from the car of an intern entrusted with protecting the data.
The theft took place on 10 June and has prompted Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland to issue an executive order requiring state IT managers to immediately review and if need be, change their data protection measures.
According to a description of the incident on Strickland's website, a "computer backup device" containing the information was stolen from the car of an intern working at a state agency. Apparently, backup procedures at the intern's work site called for one set of backup data to be stored offsite. In this case, the data had been "inappropriately designated" to be stored at the intern's home and was on its way there when it was stolen from his car.
A story about the incident by the Associated Press identified the intern as a college senior making $10.50 (£5.28) per hour working for the state's Office of Management and Budget. The $15 storage device containing the data was stolen along with a $200 radar detector from the intern's car, the AP story said.
In his statement announcing the breach Strickland stressed that it was highly unlikely anyone could access the data because it was contained in a "specialised medium".
Following the incident, he ordered all state agency directors to immediately review their information security policies and bring them into compliance with policies mandated by the state's Office of Information Technology. Directors have 60 days to provide a report to their chief privacy officers detailing their degree of compliance and the time needed to achieve full compliance.
Strickland also gave directors 75 days to develop a privacy impact analysis protocol for analysing how agencies handle certain types of data and the risks associated with the collection, maintenance and dissemination of that data. Directors have the same length of time to develop a plan for encrypting certain types of data, including Social Security numbers and financial account information.