Government accidentally releases farmers' Social Security numbers

February 16, 2006

Associated PRess

The Agriculture Department says it accidentally released Social Security numbers and tax IDs for 350,000 tobacco farmers.

But the department says those who received the information agreed to destroy copies and return discs to the government.

The agency said it inadvertently released the data in response to Freedom of Information Act requests about the tobacco buyout program. The information went to eight different people or groups.

Most of the buyout is going to farmers in North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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