Gulf Coast residents who'd filed claims against oil giant British Petroleum in the wake of last year's oil spill have another thing to worry about: their private information has been lost and possibly exposed.
A BP employee on a business trip misplaced a laptop containing private information of about 13,000 individuals, the oil company said March 29. The laptop contained a spreadsheet of names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and Social Security numbers belonging to people who filed compensation claims after the disastrous April 2010 fire and oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
The spreadsheet listed only those who filed claims directly with BP before the Gulf Coast Claims Facility took over the processing in August 2010. There is no need for anyone to refile claims because of this incident, according to BP.
"There is no evidence that the laptop or data was targeted or that anyone's personal data has in fact been compromised or accessed in any way," said BP spokesman Tom Mueller.
The laptop, lost March 1, was password-protected, but the information was not encrypted, according to BP spokesman Curtis Thomas. While there were reports that the laptop had the capability to be remotely disabled, BP did not comment to eWEEK on that feature.
The company notified affected individuals of the information breach and offered free credit monitoring services with Equifax. The loss of the laptop has been reported to law enforcement and BP's security team.
BP declined to provide any information on the employee or where the laptop was lost because of the ongoing investigation.
For more, read the eWEEK article: BP Oil Spill Claimants' Personal Data Disappears with Lost Laptop.
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