Time Warner Says Data on Employees Is Lost

Some 85,000 Employees Affected… Time Warner notified its employees yesterday that computer backup tapes that included sensitive data about employees had been lost. The New York Times reports that the tapes included information on some 600,000 people, including current and former employees, beneficiaries, and people who had provided services for the company. Said Larry Cockell, Time Warner CSO, "We take the security of our employees’ personal information extremely seriously, and we deeply regret that this incident occurred."

The tapes were being transported by records management company Iron Mountain. Although the container with the tapes was scanned and presumably placed into an unmarked truck in Manhattan on March 22, the tapes were not on the truck when it arrived at the Iron Mountain storage center in New Jersey later that day. According to an Iron Mountain spokeswoman, the company made 18 pickups in Manhattan that day. So far in 2005, Iron Mountain has lost four containers, none of which has been recovered. Iron Mountain makes about 5 million similar transactions with customers around the world each year, the Times reports. The Time Warner data was not encrypted. Iron Mountain wrote a news release dated April 21 advising companies to begin encrypting data on backup tapes. "We’re going to be phasing that in very quickly," said Kathy McKiernan, Time Warner spokeswoman.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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