HARTFORD - The state of Connecticut is suing a technology services and consulting company over the loss of confidential information for 58 Connecticut taxpayers and hundreds of state bank accounts.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said New York firm
That tape was later stolen from the car of an intern working for the state of Ohio.
"Accenture acted unconscionably," Blumenthal said. "This information has the value of cash. Instead of treating it as cash, Accenture treated it as scrap paper."
Accenture spokesman Jim McAvoy said that the company has launched a review and that, "based on what we know today, we believe our policies were inadvertently not followed."
The company, he said, plans to take appropriate action with any employees involved and to reinforce with all workers the importance of following company privacy and data protection policies.
"We do take our responsibility to safeguard our clients' data very seriously, and we invest heavily in training our employees so they understand how to appropriately handle sensitive data," McAvoy said.
Connecticut hired Accenture in 2002 to help the state automate its human resources and financial information. The company has been paid about $98 million, according to the lawsuit. The contract was recently extended for another year to finish work with the Department of Transportation. That extension is worth about $500,000.
State Comptroller Nancy Wyman said it appears that an Accenture employee who had worked on Connecticut's project took a disc that contained state information, including credit or purchasing account numbers and taxpayer Social Security numbers, to Ohio. That person, she said, used the Connecticut data to help set up a similar system in Ohio.
That information was transferred to a backup tape, which was stolen.
There has been a longtime practice of Ohio employees taking backup computer tapes home each night for safekeeping.
The tape has not been recovered. So far, there are no signs that the data, including confidential information and Social Security numbers of more than 64,000 Ohio state employees, has been misused, according to officials in both states.
Connecticut's lawsuit seeks damages and reimbursement for state funds spent on protecting the information. It also calls on Accenture to return some of the money it has received under the Connecticut contract. Blumenthal did not provide a total dollar amount. He also did not rule out an out-of-court settlement with Accenture.
Accenture has agreed to provide credit monitoring to the 58 Connecticut taxpayers whose data was on the tape.
Also, McAvoy said the company is willing to work with the state to safeguard any other data on the stolen tape.