The Johns Hopkins University and
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Johns Hopkins became aware on Jan. 18 that eight backup computer tapes containing sensitive personal information on about 52,000 university employees had not been returned as expected by a contractor that routinely makes microfiche backups of such data.
On Jan. 26, as an intensive investigation was under way, it was learned that a ninth tape, containing less sensitive personal information on approximately 83,000 patients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, had also not been returned as expected from the contractor.
All nine tapes had been sent to the contractor's Baltimore-area facility on Dec. 21. The investigation by both the contractor and Johns Hopkins has determined that the tapes never reached the facility. It also concluded that it is highly likely that the tapes were mistakenly left by a courier company hired by the contractor at another stop. They were thought to be trash, collected and later incinerated.
There is no evidence to indicate that the tapes were stolen or that the data on them has been misused. Johns Hopkins knows of no evidence of identity theft arising from this incident and believes that the risk of any such problems is very, very low.
The information on the university payroll tapes included Social Security numbers and, in some cases, bank account information for present and former employees. This includes retirees and students who have held campus jobs. Employees whose information is on the tapes come from all university units except the Applied Physics Laboratory.
The hospital tape included personal information on all new Johns Hopkins Hospital patients first seen between July 4 and Dec. 18, 2006, or who had changes in their demographic information in that time. The patient information included such data as names and dates of birth. It did not include addresses, Social Security numbers, financial information of any kind, or any medical information.
Letters are being sent to all affected Johns Hopkins University employees, current and former, and to all affected Johns Hopkins Hospital patients, except for those relatively few for whom addresses are unavailable.
Anyone receiving a letter may visit a Web site established to provide additional information. That site is at www.jhu.edu/identityalert. For those without access to the Web, a telephone number has been established at 1-800-981-7524.
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