They contained the personal information, Social Security numbers, criminal history, psych evaluations, behavior reports and even details about the personal relationships of eight CMC inmates.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation immediately launched an investigation into the data breach, as ,ost of this information is protected under the Privacy Act.
CMC workers are required to shred records before disposing of them, so the leak was also treated as a possible violation of internal policy.
The Department eventually established that those particular files were given to a local attorney named Peter Ferguson.
Ferguson represented or had to represent the prisoners at their parole hearings before the California Board of Prison Terms.
When contacted, the lawyer said that his wife cleaned the car recently and probably threw them out accidentally.
However, this doesn’t explain why he failed to notice that such important documents were missing. According to the California State Bar code, attorneys have the duty to protect the confidence and secrets of their clients.
Ensuring the secure disposal of confidential files by shredding or other means is extremely important, but unfortunately, even government institutions sometimes fail to do it properly.
According to a 2009 report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), who’s workers inspected trash dumpsters at several IRS offices, the service failed to properly protect taxpayer information.