The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development issued a warning for school districts across the state announcing that a computer hard drive containing information on 90,000 students was stolen from Juneau.The Juneau Police Department is currently investigating the theft.
“Alaska law requires government agencies that collect personal information to notify you if your information is lost or stolen,” Commissioner Mike Hanley wrote in a news release. “This theft has unfortunately resulted in the release of some of your personal information to an unauthorized third party.”
Personal information such as names, birth dates, id numbers and more could have been accessed with the help of the stolen equipment.
The information on the stolen hard drive referred to 12,099 students from all 54 districts, who participated in the state Standards Based Assessments in April 2010 and another almost 77,000 students in grades from 3 through 10 that have participated in High School Graduation Qualifying Examination.
Also, 279 students with disabilities from the Northwest Arctic Borough School District and 269 students with disabilities from the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District may have been affected by this theft.
According to the department’s news release, “the key piece of personal information required for identity theft,” – the social security numbers, were not disclosed.
As the information was not available in a universal format, nor easily recognized by file names, the actual threat is deemed minor, but the department is willing to change the Alaska Student Identification Numbers if asked.
The Department of Education and Early Development can be contacted at 465-8727. So far only 6 calls have been made regarding this issue. Also, the Fairbanks school district will be sending letters to the parents of the potentially affected students.