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BP Spills Victims' Personal Data

DATA LOSS

March 31, 2011

A BP employee lost an unencrypted laptop containing the personal information of 13,000 people who filed compensation claims after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, reports eWEEKeurope. The laptop, which was password-protected, contained a spreadsheet with names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of claimants. A BP spokesman said there is no evidence that the data has been accessed, and the company has notified all those affected, offering to pay for their credit monitoring services. Privacy advocates are calling companies' failure to encrypt portable devices inexcusable, with one describing laptop encryption as "one of the few slam-dunks in security." Of the BP data loss, Chris McIntosh of encryption expert Stonewood says, considering the "legal importance of the data, and the scale of the event which made BP record it in the first place, it becomes inexplicable."
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