500,000 personal military records stolen

500,000 personal military records stolen

By Mark Chillingworth

2002 was the year of records management news. From the collapse of Enron and Andersen, to the precedent setting court cases against tobacco companies in Australia, never before has a year had so many high profile news stories related to records management. And the year could not end without another; a private company in the United States has had 500,000 military service records stolen.

Computer hard drives containing the social security numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers and medical claims histories were stolen from the offices of TriWest Healthcare Alliance in Phoenix, Arizona on the 14th of December to end a terrible year of records management in the US. TriWest has offered a US$100,000 reward for information on the theft.

TriWest provides healthcare management to military workers in 16 American states, including; Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and home of the president, Texas.

The Federal Trade Commission in the US is already stating that this could turn into one of the largest cases of identity theft on record if the information within those records is misused.

Despite the records containing the home addresses of acting and retired military servicemen, the US Attorney, Paul Charlton said on US radio that the information does not contain a terrorist threat. There is no indication that the crime is connected to terrorism.

Currently the US Department of Defence is working towards moving all of its medical records to electronic format.

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