Computer Containing Sensitive Information on HIV-Positive Individuals Almost Sold as Surplus in Kentucky
A Kentucky state-owned computer that was "marked for sale as surplus equipment" was discovered to have "confidential files" that named thousands of people with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to the state auditor, the AP/Lexington Herald-Leader reports. According to state Health Services Secretary Marcia Morgan, the computer was used by an agency in her cabinet that counseled HIV-positive people. The agency used the computer from 1995 to 1999, and authorities believed that its hard drive was erased before it was put out for sale, according to the AP/Herald-Leader. "It's significant data. It's a lot of information with lots of names," auditor Ed Hatchett said, adding, "It's a terrible security breach." Hatchett said that in addition to the HIV/AIDS information, the computer also contained "password files, e-mail and interagency correspondence and the personal financial information of some state employees." Morgan said that she had ordered an internal investigation into the security failure (Wolfe, AP/Lexington Herald-Leader, 2/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.