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California To Notify 1.4 Million Of Hacking Risk ! - 12/3/2004 8:34:51 PM   

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SACRAMENTO - The state will spend $691,000 to mail notices to 1.4 million Californians next week alerting them that their personal information might have been accessed by a hacker in August.

The mailers represent the state's latest effort to warn those residents about an attack on a University of California-Berkeley computer. The university said in September that a hacker had gained entry to a system with names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

The state provided the information to the university for a study of recipients and caregivers in a program assisting the sick and elderly in their homes. In all, the state sent a researcher information on 1.4 million participants of the In Home Supportive Services program. The university said information on 600,000 of those people was breached.

State officials decided to send mailers after a telephone hotline and a Web posting about the incident drew inquiries from only a small fraction of those affected. The hotline received 9,000 calls and the Web site drew slightly more than 1,000 hits, said Shirley Washington, spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Agency.

Legislation that would prohibit the state from sharing such information, except when required by law enforcement, is to be introduced Monday by Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach.

Washington said the human services agency is studying how to prevent a similar breach from happening again.

Source : SiliconValley
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