Blaming the Software Again

Last week, the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure mailed 28 computer disks to 23 marketing agencies who requested the names of the 450,000 licensed professionals in Massachusetts; unfortunately, the disks also contained the professionals' social security numbers.

As of today, all but one of the disks has been recovered.

According to the Boston Globe, the spokesperson for the the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, which oversees the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure blamed it on "a software failure during computer upgrades last month. An employee noticed the error a week later."

Now, if I only had a Euro or Canadian dollar for every time I heard that lame excuse and another for the promise of a thorough review of security procedures to keep it from ever happening again after such a problem occurs.


Risk Factor

IEEE Spectrum's risk analysis blog, featuring daily news, updates and analysis on computing and IT projects, software and systems failures, successes and innovations, security threats, and more.

Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City