MP3 Confidentials: I saw this morning on CNN a technology news about how military records, including the names, SSNs, phones, etc of soldiers were discovered stored in an MP3 Player. According to the news,
Chris Ogle of New Zealand was in Oklahoma about a year ago when he bought a used MP3 player from a thrift store for $9. A few weeks ago, he plugged it into his computer to download a song, and he instead discovered confidential U.S. military files.
“The more I look at it, the more I see, and the less I think I should be,” Ogle said with a nervous laugh in an interview with TVNZ.
The files included the home addresses, Social Security numbers and cell phone numbers of U.S. soldiers. The player also included what appeared to be mission briefings and lists of equipment deployed to hot spots in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Pentagon officials told CNN that they are aware of the MP3 player, but can’t talk about it until investigators confirm that the information came from the U.S. Department of Defense.
“The government isn’t doing a good job of protecting the information that it collects,” said Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington.
Despite government efforts to protect sensitive information, this is a growing problem, privacy experts say.
Two years ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs lost track of a laptop with the personal information of millions of soldiers. And computer hard drives with classified military information have been found for sale at street markets in Afghanistan.
“When you can identify American personnel, when you have their names, their home address, their cell phone numbers, you put people in a dangerous position,” Rotenberg said.
It might be time to cover data mining of MP3 Players.