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Political Party Data Found on Auctioned Hard Drive

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Linda Rosencrance reports in Computerworld on August 31st that a California resident, who just happened to be a computer technician, was surprised to learn that the hard drive he purchased on eBay contained information belonging to its previous owner, the Arkansas Democratic Party.

According to the report, none of the information was encrypted and only a small amount of it was password protected. The individual who ended up with the hard drive said he did not look at most of the files once he learned what it was, but did determine that the data included the private cell phone numbers of Democratic members of Arkansas' congressional delegation as well as of financial contributors to the party, including U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, as well as U.S. Reps. Marion Berry, Mike Ross and Vic Snyder.

After he discovered the information on the hard drive, he conducted his own investigation and determined that it came from a defunct computer once owned by the director of Arkansas' Democratic Party. The computer had not been stolen but had been given away after the owner had been reassured that the hard drive was "dead."

The computer technician who reported the incident, reportedly commented that "I recommend that if a tech says your drive is dead, that you ask for the drive and a sledge hammer. Be sure. If it contains sensitive information, use a legit data recovery company or destroy it."

Click here to read the report.