As for the employee’s name - I dunno. AFAIK, it hasn’t been released even inside VA except to those directly involved in the investigation.
It was a stupid, stupid, STUPID thing for this person to have done. I cannot imagine being in his shoes right now. I truly don’t believe he had any criminal intentions and was probably just thinking he was going to get a leg up on some backlogged assignment by sneaking work home with him. In some backassed way, I feel kinda bad for the guy - BUT STILL. . . . to put millions of veterans in this situation? Inexcusable.
I got the letter too. And now, I find that, while moving offices, the Denver Election Commision has lost a filing cabinet containing voter registration cards with, yes, my name, social security number, and birthdate.
I think I’m going to join the cash-under-the-mattress economy. This is just bullshit.
I’m not a veteran, so this whole thing doesn’t directly affect me, but if it did, considering the magnitude of his fuck up, being “fair” to the guy would be just about the last thing I would worry about.
Being fair to the guy is the first thing one should think of when it comes to the prospect of criminal prosecution. If unfairness is discovered during the judicial process, the guy, if actually guilty of criminal conduct, could very well get the case dismissed.
Another thing about being fair is that personnel records are confidential. Just because he caused the loss of millions of records does not mean that his should be broadcast all over creation. There are two avenues of investigation: internal (within the VA) and external (law enforcement) that apply. The internal investigation must follow the departmental rules and laws governing privacy. As for the external investigation, once charges are filed, then the accused’s name will become public knowledge, IIRC.
The guy fucked up big time, agreed, but to cast untrue accusations about smoking weed and playing video games is unfair. Let the guy answer for what he actually did wrong, not for what people are pulling from their asses. Are you saying it is okay to trump up accusations and lies to this level just because the guy fucked up royally? Nice.
They do that exact thing to all us non-gov schmoes who fly, up to and including strip-searches. They spent all kinds of money beefing up security at the airports (hundreds). But you VA peeps are above all this sort of thing, huh?
Yes, I think you all should be strip searched coming and going to work 250 days a year. :rolleyes:
This is just the cost of doing business these days. It’s the information age, the advances made in manipulating information has been staggering over the last two decades, we’re still trying to figure out how to manage it. You could take all this information and put it on a chip small enough to fit in a pen cap. If somebody wanted to steal it specifically, you wouldn’t even know, they would have copied it, lickety split, and nobody would have been the wiser.
You do business with a bank, they will accidentally leave their firewall open for a few hours. You do business with Blockbuster, and they’ll leave all their records on the curb when they close the location (86th & Lex did this). This sort of thing is going to happen from time to time, people have access to the data, and people will let you down. Scream as loud as you want, THAT will never change.
I’m also not sure what “make it right” means. This genie isn’t going back into the bottle. Are you looking for a cash payoff?
I didn’t take you literally, I knew you were trying to be humerous. My post was in response to Miller and his (as I read it) serious suggestion that is perfectly okay to make untrue and unfair accusations against someone because they fucked up. I hope he never gets called to jury duty.
It wouldn’t bother me at all to go through some type of detector everytime we leave a secured area. I’m not above it and I can assure you that most, it not all of my VA peep buddies wouldn’t be above it either.
Stripsearching? Nope. Regardless of what you may believe, VA employees do care about the security of your records, but (and I think I speak for most of us), I am not going to be humiliated and degraded just so you can sleep better tonight knowing that they pulled your top secret file from my asscrack. Uh uh. Ain’t gonna happen.
Let’s get real here. The VA budget is sorely lacking. We are in a war-time period with combat veterans being discharged with disabilities and injuries. Our WWII, Korea, and Vietnam veterans are aging or are already elderly. With older veterans dying off, there is a growing need for survivor benefits. The growing need for medical care, disability benefits, educational benefits, Voc Rehab, is astronomical.
This site will give you an idea of the number of veterans in receipt of benefits and the amount paid:
“In fiscal year 2005, VA provided $30.8 billion in disability compensation, death compensation and pension to 3.5 million people. About 3 million veterans received disability compensation or pensions from VA. Also receiving VA benefits were 558,490 spouses, children and parents of deceased veterans. Among them are 159,448 survivors of Vietnam-era veterans and 256,572 survivors of World War II veterans.”
“VA has experienced unprecedented growth in the medical system workload over the past few years. The number of patients treated increased by 22 percent from 4.1 million in 2001 to more than 5.3 million in 2005.”
We are under a Presidential administration who could give a fuck about our vets. Our workload has increased tremendously, however, Bush has not followed suit with our budget. We are understaffed and under a lot of pressure (this is why it wouldn’t surprise me if we learn that the employee took the data records home because he was under pressure to compete a project. I am only guessing, I really don’t know).
So my point being, nice suggestion but where is VA going to get the funding to outfit each area (we are talking hundreds) with the scanning equipment and personnel to run them? Do you want to cut voc rehab benefits for an Iraqi Freedom veteran who lost an arm and needs to be retrained in another field? Disability compensation to a Vietnam vet who can not work because of his Agent Orange caused cancer and PTSD? Take away survivors benefits for the widow whose husband died in war? Or maybe we can use programming budget and lay off a few hundred people so disability claims take a year to process leaving some vets without income until they receive benefits.
This is an issue that’s rather near and dear to me. I am rather scared by the proposals in Congress to compensate Veterans for this brouhaha. One bill I’ve seen reported mentioned a target of $1000 per veteran affected.
Which is all well and good - on the face of it.
But when you consider how that compares to this year’s VA budget, I’m terrified about what this will do what I consider the VA’s vital work. Now, part of this is that I get my depression medications from the VA - saving me $3 per day. Which doesn’t sound like much until one realizes that I live on a monthly budget of less $700 a month. That would be a huge chop for me. And I’m one of the less needy veterans I’ve met at my local facility.
Then, let’s consider the costs of identidy theft. AIUI $1000 is going to be barely enough to straighten out the legal hassles if someone’s identidy has been stolen. And for those of us who either, have no identidy worth stealing or don’t suffer from such a theft, it’s far more compensation than is needed. Now, smaller compensations, or having the VA arrange with the credit bureaus to offer free reports for affected veterans is very different, and something I’d support wholeheartedly. And larger compensation, as needed, seems quite reasonable, too.
As one veteran to those people who might read this: I don’t think that this idiocy by a VA worker (and his or her supervisor) entitles me, nor any other veteran who has not been shown to be suffering from ID theft, to a cash handout - tell your Congresscritters, if you agree with me. Save VA monies for those veterans who really need them.
I am impressed with your ability to see the full picture instead of the $$$ signs. Not all veterans are able to do this. Thanks.
Another thing that is frightening - The lawsuit also asked that access to veterans information (SSN, date of birth, etc.) be taken away from VA employees until this is resolved (whatever “resolved” means). Medical treatment and meds shouldn’t be affected, nor should the monthly disability payments. HOWEVER, work processing would cease immediately on all claims for disability (increases and new claims), pension, education, voc rehab, and even home loan guarantee) because each one of these programs require access to military records and especially Social Security numbers. It would basically shut down the benefits side of VA.
There are hundreds of claims coming in every day. If the courts take access away for even a few days the backlog will be horrendous. Imagine it going on for weeks or months.
I’m not so sure about this. We use the SSN, or part of it, as a patient identifier for the computer and all our lab instruments are interfaced with the computer system. Without the identifier I can’t run lab tests or enter results into the electronic medical record and as far as I know we have no alternate way of identifying VA patients. Blood Bank requires the entire SSN to positively identify patients before they can be crossmatched. Regulations (AABB) require such identification for blood transfusions. This could be a huge mess in more ways than one.
The stolen laptop has been recovered. There have been no reports of identity thefts targeting veterans.
It looks like we dodged a bullet with this one. I’ve been mildly anxious about this for the last couple of months like I’m sure everybody else who’s ever been in the military has felt.
Even though it looks like this is going to have a happy ending, I REALLY hope they learn something from this. I don’t think that kind of information belongs on a portable, easily stealable laptop EVER AGAIN.