Transportation laptop stolen

The Transportation Department disclosed today that a laptop containing personal information about Florida residents was stolen from a government-owned vehicle in Miami.

The laptop was stolen July 27 and was owned by the agency's Office of the Inspector General, the agency said today. The data included information'such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and dates of bith'on more than 130,000 individuals who were issued driver's and pilot licenses in the Tampa and Miami areas.

The agency has launched an investigation with the Miami-Dade Police Department into the matter and set up a hotline and Web page to keep the public informed. It is also posting a $10,000 reward for information leading to the return of the laptop.

Acting Inspector General Todd Zinser told the state's congressional delegation in a letter Wednesday afternoon that he was informed of the theft July 31, and on Aug. 5 was told that the laptop contained personally identifiable information.

Zinser said he has also briefed acting DOT secretary Maria Cino and CIO Dan Mintz, as well as the Homeland Security Department's Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

At this point, DOT officials said they have no evidence that any of the data has been used illegally, but they urged residents in the regions to carefully review credit card and bank statements for any unexpected activities. The laptop is password protected, officials said in a letter to Florida residents.

DOT is the latest agency victim of data theft, coming on the heels of another security breach at the Veterans Affairs Department as well as several other agencies, including the IRS, the Navy, the Government Accountability Office and the Energy and Agriculture departments.

The breaches have prompted the Office of Management and Budget to tighten requirements for when an agency must report a potential data breach, and have some in Congress considering changes to existing information security laws like the Federal Information Security Management Act.

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