Denver Election Commissioner Loses Voter Records

Ok, how much can one person take, before they go stark raving mad? Lets recap the recent items that have to do with data theft and lost. Pamela reported on the theft of Veteran’s info. About three weeks went by till they reported it.

Now today, I find two stories on info being lost or stolen. Ok, so where is this so called Homeland Security? I am outraged! So lets see the new cases, and look at what they have in common.

Agency loses voter records
The Denver Election Commissioner has lost sensitive information for more than 150,000 voters – about 42 percent of those registered in the city – that could be exploited by identity thieves if it fell into the wrong hands.

What has some election commissioners fuming is that the filing cabinet containing the microfilm with voter registrations from 1989-1998 vanished during a February move to a new office building, but top officials say they only learned about it June 1.

And they heard about it from City Councilwoman Judy Montero, who demanded to know why an Internet blog was reporting “that confidential data about Denver voters has been compromised.”

“We’re taking this very seriously,” commission spokesman Alton Dillard said Friday. “We’re conducting a full investigation having to do both with trying to locate the information and to find out essentially who knew what when. We will get to the bottom of it.”

The missing records could be an identity thief’s dream, because they contain voters’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, signatures and addresses, according to a Friday statement on the commission Web site.

At this point, officials don’t know if the voting information inside the 500-pound filing cabinet was stolen or simply misplaced when the agency moved to the city’s Minoru Yasui Building from its old headquarters on West 14th Avenue.

But wait, it gets much better, because someone realizes this is not just a computer, like in the VA data deal.

Dillard said it is possible that the microfilm was consolidated into other cabinets and boxes. Also missing is a box containing early voting signature cards, which contain voter names, birth dates, addresses, signatures and, in some cases, the last four digits of Social Security numbers.

The missing records are just the latest in a series of commission controversies.

Before last November’s election, a clerical error forced the agency to pay $43,000 to re-mail a voters’ guide, and City Council members blasted the agency for turning in a $3 million 2006 budget to fund two elections using polling places, when the commission was really driving toward a change to voting centers.

There was a leadership void at the agency when the records went missing because Executive Director Karon Hatchett resigned under criticism in January.

City Councilman Doug Linkhart said the discovery of the missing records “is not really surprising because the incompetence over there has been really consistent.”

I don’t know how you misplace a filing cabinet,” he said.

WOW, talk about the quote of the day! And get this, it was a blogger that revealed it!!

The missing records were first revealed May 31 on the Web blog heartbrokentiger.com under the headline, “Sad for Denver Voters.”

Lisa Jones, who runs the site, said Friday that rumors about the missing files had been around for months, and she believes the commission was aware of the loss since at least April.

Jones, a former temporary commission worker during the 2003 mayoral election, said, “If a credit card company let such information out, people would be p—– off.”

The loss, she said “is really huge.”

Jones said she was surprised that officials are saying they only recently found out about the loss, but added, “What else are they going to say.”

The other article of interest, is Energy Dept. Discloses Data Theft

A hacker stole a file containing the names and Social Security numbers of 1,500 people working for the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons agency.

But the incident last September, somewhat similar to recent problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, was not reported to senior officials until two days ago, officials told a congressional hearing yesterday. None of the victims was notified, they said.

The data theft occurred in a computer system at a service center belonging to the National Nuclear Security Administration in Albuquerque, N.M. The file contained information about contract workers throughout the agency’s nuclear weapons complex, a department spokesman said.

NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks told a House hearing that he learned of the security break late last September but did not inform Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman about it. It had occurred earlier that month.

NO I am not making this up!

Brooks blamed a misunderstanding for the failure to inform either Bodman or Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell about the security breach. The NNSA is a semiautonomous agency within the department, and Brooks said he assumed the DOE’s counterintelligence office would have briefed the two senior officials.

And just to let you get a lil more warm and fuzzy about security:

Brooks said the file contained names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, codes showing where the employees worked and codes showing their security clearances. A majority of the individuals worked for contractors, and the list was compiled as part of their security clearance processing, he said.

Tom Pyke, the DOE official charged with cyber security, said he learned of the incident a few days ago. He said the hacker, who obtained the data file, penetrated a number of security safeguards in obtaining access to the system.

Stevens said Bodman, upon learning of the incident, directed that the individuals affected be immediately told that their information had been compromised.

The Energy Department spends $140 million a year on cyber security, Gregory H. Friedman, the DOE’s inspector general, told the committee. But he said that while improvements have been made, “significant weaknesses continue to exist,” making the unclassified computer system vulnerable to hackers.

OK someone make me feel better, and remind me of how secure we are with the GOP in charge of Homeland Security. Remind me of how staying the course is making this a safer world. Remind me that Republicans are gonna make it all better, and make us proud. Somehow, I have missed it!

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6 Responses to Denver Election Commissioner Loses Voter Records

  1. Ginny in CO says:

    Donnie,

    Unfortunately, this is a point in time that none of us should feel better, secure or confident.

    Interesting, I had seen the DOE fiasco but missed the Denver
    situation right under my nose! Luckily, I am not a Denver resident but my mother and sister are.

    Some of this may be simple expansion of the basic criminal element’s efforts and expertise. The question becomes, if they realize how valuable the DOE information could be to someone who isn’t interested in picking someones credit card, would they sell it?

  2. mbk says:

    All of this is very very strange (not to mention dangerous). . and, though the circumstances (not to mention the consequences) of each of these 3 thefts continue to be very troubling, the weirdest of all seems to me the circumstances of the VA theft. While all reports that I’ve seen describe the VA theft as an “ordinary burglary”, does it strike anyone as weird that–at least in the articles I saw– no details were provided as to what else was stolen? Was the TV missing? the stereo? jewelry? ski equipment? computer equipment? a briefcase? personal financial records? If nothing else disappeared–if the only missing item were the file (on a CD? a zip disc?)– how could that possibly be explained as an ordinary burglary?

  3. Ron Chusid says:

    mbk,

    “does it strike anyone as weird that. . .”

    Perhaps we are just receiving part of the story, and they are spinning a bad situation to make it sound less bad thanit really is. Regardless it is just more reason to question the competence of those in charge.

  4. mbk,

    If I remember right, after the story broke, it was later reported that the info was on a laptop.

    Ginny,

    “The question becomes, if they realize how valuable the DOE information could be to someone who isn’t interested in picking someones credit card, would they sell it?”

    You got that right!!

    Like Ron said, “Regardless it is just more reason to question the competence of those in charge.”

  5. Pingback: Official Ramblings of The Wugga » Blog Archive » Denver Election Commissioner Loses Voter Records

  6. Dr. LeRoy A. Stone says:

    Readers of this ‘blog’ who might have interest in security clearance obtaining matters should be interested in the following information. A recently constructed psychological-type ‘test’, the Personnel Security Standards Psychological Questionnaire (PSSPQ), has been shown, through repeated research, to be able to accurately predict success/failure to be eventually granted high-level security clearance status for those being processed (or planning to be processed) for same. The PSSPQ was developed by a seasoned psychologist who, several years ago, retired from federal service when being the Chief Research Psychologist in the USA’s largest intelligence agency.

    ***LINK REMOVED BY MODERATOR***