Saturday, January 5, 2008

Some Say Metro Should Pay For Credit Risk Fix

Laptop Containing Personal Information Stolen From Election Commission Reported By Dennis Ferrier POSTED: 4:44 pm CST January 4, 2008 UPDATED: 6:26 pm CST January 4, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The recent security breach at the Metro Election Commission has some residents questioning if Metro should pay for the fix. According to officials with the Election Commission, a laptop with the Social Security numbers of all of Davidson County’s registered voters was taken, along with other items, during the break-in. The question on many minds is shouldn't Nashville's government have to pay to help fix the problem? Metro has put a police report on the Internet so residents can put a credit freeze on their accounts if they want to. A police report is required by credit bureaus to enforce the freeze. They've also put the number of credit agencies up for those who would like to put a fraud alert on their accounts. Placing an alert on credit reports is free. There is a charge to place and remove a freeze to credit. But many affected residents said they don't think that's enough. Nashville registered voter and computer expert Mike Carroll wrote that the move “is like locking the barn door after all the horses are loose. Not all Nashvillians have a computer or access to a computer.” Carroll wants Metro to put a fraud alert in place for all 337,000 voters whose information was on the laptop. Some voters may not want a fraud alert, but the idea of doing this for people who want it done has got some support. “I want a hot line where anybody can just pick up the telephone and call a number and we’ll have somebody to step them through the process or even connect them, direct connect them to the credit agency, to file the report. That's not rocket science. That’s pretty easy to do in today's society,” said Councilman Mike Craddock. Craddock is the chairman of the Metro Public Safety Committee. He said he wants Mayor Karl Dean’s office to open a hot line to work with people and that if a hot line implies Metro made a mistake, then the city needs to live with it. “First and foremost, we ought to help people. I don’t care about the liability aspect of it. We have a legal department that can take care of that. I want to help these people through this,” Craddock said. That move has to come from Dean’s office, and while he is still on vacation, the next step is coming with hesitation. “That is definitely something that we’re looking into as well. Again, we’re looking at several options what we can do to try to help the voters,” said Dean’s Chief of Staff Rita Roberts-Turner. At a Thursday night meeting, Metro's computer division said it doesn't do much at the Election Commission, even though private sector computer experts have said that information technology workers should be all over election records. Information technology workers have charged the Election Commission $300,000 for services. Three Davidson County voters have filed a class-action lawsuit against Metro government, the security company Wackenhut and a sub-contractor. The Metro Council also sent a letter to Wackenhut asking it to pay for the cost of the letters sent to voters. Postage on those letters cost more than $122,000.

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