Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Meeting To Seek Answers After Laptops Stolen

Reported by Sara Dorsey POSTED: 4:35 pm CST January 1, 2008 UPDATED: 5:35 pm CST January 1, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Channel 4 is learning new information about the security on the laptops stolen from the Davidson County Election Commission offices a week ago. The computers contained the full Social Security numbers of more than 300,000 voters, and Metro Councilman Michael Craddock is calling for changes. "If they followed procedure, well you know we need to change procedure. But if they've been insubordinate, they probably need to be dismissed," said Craddock. Election Administrator Ray Barrett admits procedure was not followed and said laptops were supposed to be kept in a locked storage area. But because one computer was being repaired and another was being prepped for early voting, they remained out in the open for the taking. Another troubling discovery was that the information was not encrypted, only password-protected Barrett said. "We all know that passwords are no good. You can buy software to get around a password. These computers from here forward have to be encrypted," said Craddock. Barrett refused to talk about any of these details on camera or to tape a phone interview. Craddock said he believes officials were caught off guard but owe voters more than an excuse. "We need to put the cards on the table. We need to let the people of the city know what's going on so they can prepare themselves for what's to come," said Craddock. The theft not only calls into question the way the county handles sensitive information but also the security of county buildings. Three days might have passed between the time of the burglary and when it was actually reported. According to the Metro police report on Dec. 23, a security guard noticed a customer service window open but dismissed it. Another guard saw the same thing three days later, investigated and discovered the busted window. Craddock is trying to organize a tour of the election commission offices for the public safety committee so they will have a better handle on the situation. The public safety commission is holding a meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. that will call for answers from Ray Barrett, the election committee administrator, Sandy Cole, the head of the county's information and technology department, and Nancy Whittmere, the director of the department, that handles the county's building and its security.

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