Just how do you lose a laptop every other day?


More than 1,100 laptop computers have vanished from the Department of Commerce since 2001, including nearly 250 from the Census Bureau containing such personal information as names, incomes and Social Security numbers, federal officials said yesterday.

This disclosure by the department came in response to a request by the House Committee on Government Reform, which this summer asked 17 federal departments to detail any loss of computers holding sensitive personal information.

Of the 10 departments that have responded, the losses at Commerce are “by far the most egregious,” said David Marin, staff director for the committee. He added that the silence of the remaining seven departments could reflect their reluctance to reveal problems of similar magnitude.


2 thoughts on “Just how do you lose a laptop every other day?

  1. Given the massive numbers of people working for the Census Bureau, not just during the decennial census, it really doesn’t surprise me. There have to be hundreds of thousands of these computers, they’re all laptops (they have to be for the work they do), and they’re in the hands of people who are being paid government wages to do difficult work.
    I have a lot of respect for the people at the Census. The information they collect is incredibly useful in a huge number of different applications. I hope this revelation doesn’t make people less willing to participate in the various Census questionnaires. But I’m not optimistic.

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