Tapes with data about Hopkins' workers, patients, missing

February 7, 2007

Associated Press


The Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital are reporting the disappearance of nine computer tapes containing personal information about university employees and hospital patients.

Officials learned January 18th that eight tapes had not been returned as expected by a contractor that makes backups of the data. The tapes contained payroll information on 52-thousand past and present university employees from all units except the Applied Physics Lab. The data included Social Security numbers and, in some cases, bank account numbers.

During the investigation, officials learned a ninth tape containing less sensitive data about 83-thousand Hopkins patients had also not been returned. Most were patients first seen between July and December 2006.

Hopkins officials stress there is no evidence the tapes were stolen or the data has been misused. And they say it's likely the tapes were mistakenly left at another stop by a courier, thought to be trash and later incinerated.

Hopkins is sending a letter explaining the loss to the workers and the patients.

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