Personal information may be stolen at UT



Personal information of some students and staff at the University of Toledo might have been on two hard drives stolen from the Health and Human Services Building, the university announced yesterday.

The hard drives, which are believed to have contained some names, Social Security numbers, and grade changes, were taken from UT’s department of health and rehabilitative services.

The university computer of Jeanette Espinosa, a department secretary, was reported stolen June 18, and Associate Professor Thomas Tatchell’s computer was reported stolen July 12, according to the UT police department.

Ms. Espinosa’s computer is believed to have been taken between June 15 and June 18. Memory cards for the computer also were taken.

Mr. Tatchell’s computer was stolen after May 2, which he told police was the last time he was on campus.

When he returned July 12, the computer was missing, as were his degree plaques from Central Michigan University and University of Utah, which hung on his office wall, according to a UT police report.

The university sent a letter to students and staff yesterday informing them that personal information might have been on those devices and that they are “treating this matter very seriously.”

The letter sent by Lynn Hutt, UT’s compliance and privacy officer, said there is no indication the personal information was targeted in the theft and “we believe the risk is minimal.”

People are asked to lock office doors, use strong passwords, and save sensitive data on a secure university server rather than on personal computers or storage devices.

The UT police department continues to investigate the thefts.

In June, Bowling Green State University announced that a portable computer storage device containing personal information of about 1,800 current and former students was lost by a professor.

The computer flash drive, which was lost May 30, contained Social Security numbers for 199 students who were enrolled in classes taught by W. David Albrecht, a BGSU accounting professor, in 1992.

BGSU switched the next year to university ID numbers instead of identifying students through their Social Security numbers.

Mr. Albrecht’s flash drive also contained those university ID numbers, names, and grades for about 1,600 other students since 1993.

There is no evidence that any of the personal information has been accessed and the flash drive has not been found, a BGSU spokesman said yesterday.

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