County posts personal information online

LOS ANGELES - The personal information of child care providers in Los Angeles County was available on Google's public search engine last week, county officials said Monday.An employee with the county's Internal Services Department placed four data files containing confidential information on a Web server thought to be internal to the county, authorities said. The files, three Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and one Word document, contained approximately 2,200 records that included the names and addresses of county child care providers, along with their tax identification numbers. When a person provides services to Los Angeles County, the tax identification number is the person's Social Security number. A private citizen discovered the information on Google on May 12 and contacted authorities. "Once notified, the county immediately took the associated web server out of service, and the files were removed from the server," county officials said in a news release. Google confirmed on May 15 that the content was removed from its search engine. County officials said the information was not found on other public web sites. An investigation has been launched "to identify and correct the process that allowed the placement of these sensitive files on a public facing server," officials said.

********** Published: May 19, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 5