State sues Accenture for data loss

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CONNECTICUT – US State Connecticut has sued its own computer consultancy Accenture for undisclosed damages over the loss of nearly 460 state-agency bank account numbers and personnel data of 58 individuals. Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal announced that he is suing the company for illegal negligence, unauthorized use of state property, and breach of contract.

A computer backup tape stolen in Ohio contained confidential data copied by Accenture and taken out of state in violation of its $98 million contract. An Accenture employee is believed to have violated company security rules by transferring the data to Ohio, where the consultancy is developing a similar financial data system to the one it produced for Connecticut. The theft was possible because of Ohio's low-tech system of data protection.

Accenture is conducting its own review of the incident and released a statement: “Based on what we know today, we believe that our policies were inadvertently not followed," the statement read. “We intend to take appropriate actions with any individuals involved and to reinforce with all of our employees, as we do on a regular basis, the importance of following our privacy and data protection policies.”

Although Comptroller Nancy Wyman was keen to point out that Connecticut's data is backed up nightly on computer at the University of Connecticut, a private vendor securing copies and safeguarding data for banks and insurance companies, the full ramifications of the theft have yet to be realised.

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