VA to Recall All Agency Laptops

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-06-08
The Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs, R. James Nicholson, will announce a VA-wide recall of all laptop computers June 8 in a 10:00 a.m. hearing at the House of Representatives Government Reform Committee.

According to Rick Weidman, executive director for Policy & Government Affairs, this recall will cover every laptop computer in the agency. Weidman said that in meetings he had with Nicholson Wednesday evening this recall was not mentioned to him or to others in the veterans community; however, he said that his office was notified this morning. eWEEK will provide updates as they become available.

The news comes days after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was sued by veterans groups for "flagrantly [disregarding] the privacy rights of essentially every man or woman to have worn a United States military uniform." The veterans filed a massive class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Larry Dignan claims this case could provide a "eureka moment." Click here to read why.

The suit asks that the courts prohibit the VA from handling any personal privacy-protected data except under court supervision, and that the court create a set of "consensus minimal security standards" under which the VA can operate. The suit also asks for damages of $1,000 for every person listed in the missing database files.

The VAs woes began on May 22 when the department disclosed the personal information of up to 26.5 million veterans was swiped from an employees home.

According to the VA, an employee took home electronic data containing the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for millions of veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. The data didnt include any of the VAs electronic health records and financial records. The data was stolen when an employees home was burglarized.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

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