The Boston Globe reported this morning that an unencrypted backup tape containing personal information on some 21,000 clients of the school’s legal clinic has been lost. According to the newspaper, the tape was lost by a technician who was transporting it on the subway.
The Globe story also reports:
To prevent a similar occurrence in the future, the law school is encrypting the center’s computer servers and backup tapes for a higher level of protection beyond the password. It has bought a new tape library with a bar-code reader for better inventory control and hired a professional courier service to transport the backup tapes.
School spokesperson Robert London told me this afternoon that the Globe story “gives the impression” that the law school has determined where and how the tape was lost, but that’s not the case. “It’s possible it was lost in transit on the MBTA, but it could have been lost after it reached our campus,” he said. The Globe story does not cite a specific source for that information.
London added that the tape was coming from a remote office that was about to become the last branch of the law school to deploy tape encryption, and said the rest of the school’s facilities already have encryption in place. To lose a backup tape from that particular system was “just bad timing and bad luck,” he said.