School district sold computers with personal information

November 27, 2006

Associated Press

The Greenville County School District sold computers that contained Social Security numbers and birthdates for roughly 100,000 students and at least 1,000 employees, according to a district official and the buyers' attorney.

The two buyers never released the information found in computers they bought at a dozen school district auctions between 1999 and last March, but worry about other computers sold, their attorney David Gantt told The Greenville News. The businessmen went public about their findings after the district repeatedly ignored their warnings and continued to sell computers without removing the data, Gantt told the newspaper.

The men offered to sell the district a data security product, Gantt said.

"Their concern is, and frankly a reasonable concern is, who else might have gotten access to this information?" he said. "They didn't buy everything at these sales."

The computers' hard drives were supposed to be destroyed before they went to auction but "there were a few that had slipped through the cracks," said Lonnie Luce, the district's deputy superintendent.

Discovered data included addresses, phone numbers, medical information, personnel evaluations, driver's license numbers and Department of Juvenile Justice records, Gantt said.

"That type of information is not allowed to get out. It should not have slipped out through the way it did," Luce said.

The district has since put policy regarding hard drives in writing, he said. "We made very clear what had to happen in policy. They know not to sell ... any of that stuff anymore."

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