UPDATED: Stolen DOT laptop PC contains personal info on 133,000 Floridians

OIG Data Security Portal

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 10, 2006, with additional information.

A laptop containing the personal identification information of about 133,000 Florida residents was stolen from a government-owned vehicle July 27 in the Miami area, Transportation Department officials announced Aug. 9.

The individuals affected include:

  • People in the Miami-Dade County area who hold Florida commercial driver's licenses (CDLs).
  • Florida residents who hold Federal Aviation Administration airman certificates.
  • People who obtained their personal Florida driver's licenses or CDLs from the Largo licensing facility.

The personal information includes names, Social Security numbers, birthdates and addresses. There is no financial or medical information on the laptop PC.

Four databases on the computer, which was password protected, were being used by a special agent at the Miami office of the DOT Office of Inspector General to identify fraudulent licensing, according to OIG officials.

DOT IG spokesman David Barnes said the data on the laptop had been unencrypted before it was stolen.

“OIG computers are routinely encrypted," he said this afternoon. "The laptop had been decrypted about two weeks previously as part of a systemwide update. We do not believe the computer had been re-encrypted.”

These databases were not lists of individuals under investigation but general lists of license and airman certificate holders in Florida, OIG officials said.

They said that they have no reason to believe the perpetrator or perpetrators targeted the laptop because of the contents. However, officials say they are taking all possible steps to protect and inform Florida residents.

Those concerned can call OIG’s Hotline Complaint Center at (800) 424-9071 or visit OIG’s Web site.

“We are making every effort to recover the stolen laptop and resecure the data it contains,” Acting Inspector General Todd Zinser said. “We seriously regret this matter and take our responsibilities seriously. We have taken action and will continue to take steps necessary to prevent this from happening again.”

Individual notification letters are being sent to at-risk Floridians, OIG officials said.

The office is working to ensure that no other OIG laptop PCs or portable media devices assigned to field offices and headquarters employees contain such data.

Special agents were focusing on the Miami-Dade CDL and the Florida airman certificate information to see how the data might be used to obtain fraudulent documentation. Past reviews of such information uncovered that some people in possession of these documents should not have received them because of prior criminal history or the use of fake Social Security numbers.

The Tampa, Fla.-area driver’s licensing data was part of an ongoing investigation involving fraud at the licensing facility, which recently resulted in a guilty plea, OIG officials said.

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