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City of Milwaukee files complaint against Dynacare Laboratories

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The City of Milwaukee has filed a complaint against Dynacare, the company that allegedly compromised the personal information of thousands of city workers.

The complaint was submitted on behalf of the 9,000 city employees and their spouses who had personal information stolen when a flash drive was taken from a Dynacare employee's vehicle. While no identity thefts have been reported, the flash drive in question remains missing.

"We're doing everything we can to protect them," said Jeff Fleming, a spokesperson for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The Federal Health Information Privacy, or HIPPA, complaint is being filed through the Office for Civil Rights. Fleming says City employees need protection after the incident jeopardized their personal information in late October.

"It included personal identifying information such as social security numbers, addresses and birth dates," said Fleming.

As a City employee, Fleming says his information is stored on the missing device. He says Dynacare let too much time pass before speaking up about the situation.

"There are questions about timeliness and thoroughness of the reporting. The Milwaukee Police Department did not even know about the theft of the data for weeks afterwards," Fleming said.

That is one of the biggest concerns for the City and its workers.

In November, a Milwaukee firefighter and his wife filed a class-action lawsuit against Dynacare. Investigators claim the missing flash drive was unencrypted and not protected by a password.

A spokesperson for the company issued a statement saying: "Dynacare already self-reported this incident to the Office for Civil Rights two months ago. We have no further comment at this time."

Dynacare had been contracted through Froedtert Workforce Health to oversee the City's wellness program.

"We're looking forward to the possibility that this could be resolved amicably," said Fleming.

The City of Milwaukee is working with its other vendors to ensure situations such as this one don't happen again.

1 Comment

  • Steve Franklin

    Without wishing to overstate the obvious but:

    (1) Help me understand why the City of Milwaukee IT department was so lazy that when Dynacare asked for a list of city employees the city IT simply dumped ALL of the employee data onto a jump drive. There is no way that Dynacare needed all of that information.

    (2) Nevermind identity theft, why why why would Dynacare risk a HIPPA violation by keeping patient records on a portable, unencrypted device? They aren’t expensive and provide a good level of protection.

    (3) Ok, let us accept that both the city and Dynacare screwed up. It has been 2 months. In 2 months nothing has happened. Nada, nothing, zilch. The usb drive probably was pitched, or reformatted, or destroyed. So, how about watching city employees credit reports for a year and let it go?

    In the mean time, Milwaukee, don’t go giving vendors more information than they need. Dynacare, don’t accept more data than you need. Both of you, get secure devices and lock data up with passwords. Duh?

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