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    Sensitive Data of 16,000 Tennessee Students Accidentally Published on Web Site

    The Liberty Coalition has revealed a security breach by the Williamson County, Tenn., County school district. The names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates or test records of almost 16,000 Williamson County schoolchildren were accidentally posted to a publicly accessible Web site in August 2007 by the district’s assessment specialist, Chris Nugent. Nugent handles testing data for the district and was authorized to have the data.

    According to Rebecca Sharber, Director of Schools for Williamson County, “Mr. Nugent had confidential student files on the same thumb-drive with his personal files. We believe that when Mr. Nugent uploaded his personal files to a web site he created, he inadvertently uploaded our student files.” She also said that Nugent was unable to provide the district with the names of students possibly affected. “When Mr. Nugent was unable to get that information for us, our attorney Jason Golden contacted the Liberty Coalition, the organization that had posted the Internet report [ . . . and] the Liberty Coalition was able to provide the names of the students affected,” Sharber said.

    The school district also “will be calling all parents of students whose social security numbers were exposed to let them know their child was affected, and we will follow up that phone call with a letter. In addition, we will be contacting the national credit bureaus as required by Tennessee law.” Sharber said, “We are working to locate a security company, and at our expense, we will cover the cost of fraud protection for the students affected. We will share all of this information with our families in the letter that we will send. In addition, we will notify the U.S. Department of Education of this breech [sic]. This was a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.” Nugent has resigned. Nashville’s WKRN has more coverage.

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