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State to send out notices over lost employee data

Letters to alert those affected to credit protection services

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010

A lawyer for the state said letters should begin going out this week to the more than 77,000 current and former public employees whose personal information was lost by an accounting firm.

The update, given to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, came two weeks after the state announced it had reached a settlement with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC. Ed Sniffen, a senior assistant attorney general, attributed the lag to logistics, such as getting call centers set up.

The letters are intended to alert those affected to the credit protection services available to them under the settlement.

Sniffen said the agreement still allows for individuals to make claims against the firm and even the state, though he said PricewaterhouseCoopers would indemnify the state for any related claims.

He said he wanted to "dispel any notion" the state did something wrong and that this wasn't a breach of state security measures.

PricewaterhouseCoopers had the information as part of its role as a state expert witness in the state's lawsuit against its former actuary. Its general counsel has said it "regrets that the information was misplaced while under our control, and has made a significant commitment in reaching this resolution expeditiously. "

A Department of Law spokesman said there's been no evidence yet of any identity theft.

Last month, Attorney General Dan Sullivan said PricewaterhouseCoopers discovered in early December that it had lost the data, but it didn't notify the state until late January. He said the data included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of people in the public employee and teachers' retirement systems in 2003 and 2004.



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