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Contractor loses USB containing 460k of Personal Data of Residents after a night out drinking

A contractor lost a USB containing personal data on every resident of the city of Amagasaki, northwest of Osaka, during a night out drinking.

The private contractor in his 40s was carrying the memory stick when he went to have drinks after work. He fell asleep on the street after drinking alcohol at a restaurant. When he woke up, his bag containing the flash drive was gone, Japan public broadcaster NHK reported.

The contractor was working on a municipal pandemic relief programme and the USB contained personal data on all 465,177 residents.

The data was copied onto the USB to facilitate its transfer to a call center in nearby Osaka and contains the names, genders, addresses, birthdays, and other personal information of all the city’s residents. It even includes sensitive information such as tax data and bank account information on some locals, the city said.

An Amagasaki official told a press conference according to Kyodo News:

We deeply regret that we have profoundly harmed the public’s trust in the administration of the city.

We will thoroughly ensure security management when handling electronic data. We will work to regain our residents’ trust by heightening awareness of the importance of protecting personal information.

However, the city officials stated that the data was encrypted and the USB locked with a password and that so far there was no sign the information had been accessed.

The contractor has filed a lost property report with the police who are now investigating the case.

The city said through an official statement make payments to eligible households and provide more information on the case as they investigate.


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