Social Security number, medical records found in municipal Dumpster

Branches of county and state government in Pinellas have improperly disposed of documents that contain citizens’ sensitive personal information. Pinellas clerk of the circuit court auditors released a report Friday that says child abuse records, juvenile defendant information, Social Security numbers, medical information and privileged attorney-client documents turned up in Dumpsters at several government complexes.
Hundreds of documents were involved, the report states, and the
inappropriate disposals may violate state and federal law.
“Citizens are forced to provide confidential information to the government,”
said Bob Melton, the clerk’s audit director. “So the government has a huge
responsibility to ensure that information is protected. And in these cases,
it was not.”
Melton said there is no evidence any information fell into the wrong hands,
though the risk is certainly there. And there’s no indication, Melton said,
that the improper disposals were intentional. He’s urging county leaders to
educate employees on proper procedures for getting rid of sensitive
material.

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