Stanford alerts employees that stolen laptop had personal data

June 6, 2008

Stanford University determined yesterday that a university laptop, which was recently stolen, contained confidential personnel data. The university is not disclosing details about the theft as an investigation is under way.

The university is sending e-mails and letters to current and former employees whose personal information may be at risk, as well as posting information on the Stanford homepage at:, and notifying the media. Officials estimate that the problem could extend to as many as 72,000 people currently or previously employed by Stanford.

While the university has rigorous policies and guidelines designed to protect confidential information, events such as this demonstrate the need for heightened vigilance in this area. To that end, Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer Randy Livingston will lead a task force to review policies and practices regarding the safety and security of sensitive data.

Livingston said: "The university has guidelines that prohibit keeping sensitive information on unsecured computers. This effort will be redoubled after this incident."

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