Sensitive information on about 9,000 current and former state employees was copied and removed from state offices, the California Department of Public Health has announced.
The security breach, the second to hit the department in a year, involves most current employees at the state Public Health and Health Care Services departments, and nearly 3,000 employees of the former Department of Health Services. The copied information included individual names and addresses, Social Security numbers, ethnicity, birth dates, compensation records, employees' next of kin and their addresses.
In a statement, CDPH Director Dr. Ron Chapman said, "We regret that the personal information of our employees was compromised. We take the breach of any secure documents very seriously and are committed to taking steps to minimize any impact of this action and further strengthen our security policy."
The department says that there's no evidence that the information has been misused, but it's still offering free credit monitoring to anyone caught up in the security lapse.
Someone tripped the department's security detection system on April 5 by copying the information to a private hard drive. CDPH investigators subsequently discovered that the hard drive was removed from state premises by an employee, according to the department press release. The employee, who was not named, is on administrative leave while the investigation continues.
Last Friday's announcement was the second time that Public Health officials have had to announce a personal information security breach. Last September a computer backup tape mailed from a Southern California field office never made it to department headquarters in Sacramento. The tape contained medical records and personal information of about 2,550 facility residents, staff and health care workers.