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Confidential Data on WI Minors Found on a Hard Drive in Nigeria

According to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, "confidential information on minors in the state's Child Protective Services program has surfaced on a computer hard drive in Nigeria, and state officials say they can't account for how the data got there."

It seems that an advocacy group called The Basel Action Network purchased the hard drive along with several others in a Nigerian market to see what data was still on them. One of the files was a 2001 document with the names of several dozen children and parents in the Wisconsin program along with their location and some billing information. It also contained the resume of a former Health and Family Services employee.

Apparently the group was trying to call attention to a related issue, the dumping of potentially toxic electronics from Wisconsin and the rest of the country in poor nations like Nigeria.

A related article notes that an upcoming event will give Madison residents a chance to unload their electronics without worries about private data being compromised or their computer ending up being burned in a Third World dump. Cascade Asset Management of Madison, which runs the Computer Recycling Round-up held Nov. 12, completely erases or destroys the hard drives it receives, said Sarah Blaser, who handles environmental health and safety for the company.