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Government settles V.A. data breach suit
WASHINGTON (2/12/09)--A U.S. District Judge Tuesday approved plans by the government to pay $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by veterans whose personal information was compromised when a laptop computer was stolen from the home of a Veterans Affairs employee. Payments will range from $75 to $1,500 for up to 26.5 million veterans who incurred expenses related to obtaining credit monitoring or physical symptons of emotional distress (E-Commerce Times Feb. 11). The lawsuit had alleged invasion of privacy in what was the government's largest data security breach. The breach, coupled with breaches disclosed at TJX Cos. and a state government agency in Vermont, prompted credit unions to look closer at their own security. The V.A. breach occurred in Alabama and helped prompt the Alabama Credit Union League to offer credit unions a security breach response service (News Now Feb. 20, 2007). The stolen laptop contained Social Security numbers and birthdates of veterans and troops on active duty, but no financial account information. The laptop was recovered later intact.


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