Beginning April 13, 2011, the Texas Comptroller’s office will begin to mail breach notification letters to millions of Texans whose personal identifying information was exposed on an agency server that was accessible to the public.  The records of over 3 MILLION Texans were placed on the server in error and contained personally identifying information, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, names and driver’s license numbers!

As usual, the breach notification contains the familiar quote, “There is no indication the personal information was misused.”  Click HERE for the breach notification press release.  The press release expressly states that the personal identifying information was not encrypted.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) provided the personal identifying information.   TRS data transferred in January 2010 had records of 1.2 million education employees and retirees. TWC data transferred in April 2010 had records of about 2 million individuals in their system. ERS data transferred in May 2010 had records of approximately 281,000 state employees and retirees.

The comptroller points out that the information should have been encrypted to comply with the Texas Administrative Rules established for governmental agencies, such as the Texas Workforce Commission, Teacher Retirement System of Texas and the Employees Retirement System of Texas.  As if that was not a big enough goof, the Comptroller’s personnel “incorrectly allowed exposure of that data. Several internal procedures were not followed, leading to the information being placed on a server accessible to the public, and then being left on the server for a long period of time without being purged as required by internal procedures.”

If you have received a breach notification letter from the state of Texas regarding the data breach, then you may be at risk for identity theft.  Contact attorney Micah Adkins for more information and find out if you need to hire a lawyer.