IRS missing laptop with employee data

The IRS said that one of its laptops containing data about 291 IRS employees and job applicants went missing in early May when it was lost in transit to an agency event.

The information contained on the laptop included fingerprints, names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for the 291 individuals. MSNBC first reported the missing laptop.

'No electronic tax records or financial information was on the missing computer,' said IRS spokesman Terry Lemons.

The employee data was not encrypted, but the information was secured by a double password system, meaning it takes two different passwords to access the information, Lemons added.

'When IRS employees in the field handle taxpayer data, that information is encrypted,' Lemons said.

The laptop was used to collect employee data, and the employee had taken it on a commercial flight in connection with an IRS event in the Western United States.

The case is under review by IRS' inspector general. IRS has been calling the individuals to alert them about the missing data and is sending them a letter to inform them and urge them to keep an eye out for improper or suspicious activity. IRS has no evidence that information was stolen or used.

The IRS case follows on the announcement last month that sensitive data belonging to 26.5 million veterans was taken in a burglary of the home of an employee of the Veterans Affairs Department. That employee has since been fired.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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