Day care info mistakenly posted on Web

A database project turned into a privacy nightmare this month for Livingston County, N.Y.

Personal records from the county's day care database'hundreds of names, addresses and confidential information about low-income and foster families'remained online for about two weeks. They included details about families' daily routines, birthdays and which days a family member attends a treatment program.

A programmer who worked on a contract for the county's Social Services Department inadvertently posted the data to www.rentacoder.com while seeking technical help, said David Morris, Livingston County attorney. Visitors viewed the posting 214 times but would have had to unzip the database to see the personal information.

The county contracts with Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y., to work on the database. The college suspended the programmer without pay. All the families involved are being notified, Morris said, and the Social Services Department is fielding phone calls about any problems that might arise.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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