Stolen laptop had personal data on Pitt business school grads

By Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 09, 2008

College of Business Administration graduates at the University of Pittsburgh have been notified that a laptop containing their personal information including their names and Social Security numbers was stolen last month.

Citing an ongoing police investigation, Pitt officials today would not say how many alumni of the undergraduate program were affected. The laptop, stolen from Mervis Hall on Aug. 11, was being used by an employee to conduct surveys of alumni that are used in college rankings.

Pitt spokesman Robert Hill said the employee violated a university policy, enacted in 2005, regarding storage of sensitive data.

"The survey was legitimate. What was not legitimate was storing Social Security numbers after the university established a policy," Mr. Hill said. "That information should have been purged from the laptop."

Mr. Hill said there is no indication the thief knew the data was on the laptop and no indication that any attempt to use it has been made. He said the graduates were notified beginning Aug. 27 as a precaution.

Mr. Hill would not say if the individual had been sanctioned.

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