Social Security numbers and other personal information of 47,000 Florida teachers was exposed on the Internet during a recent data transfer at Florida State University, the entity performing work under contract with the Florida Department of Education.
During the transfer in late May, FSU’s Florida Center for Interactive Media moved the data to a new server, but failed to enact security measures to restrict access to only authorized individuals. An initial investigation indicates that personal information may have been accessed as many as 23 times via Google, which may have included unauthorized access.
The Florida Department of Education released a statement stating that “for a period of 14 days, personal information of about 47,000 participants in Florida teacher preparation programs during academic years 2009-10 through 2011-12 was publically accessible.”
The department was made aware of the failure to properly secure the data on June 11 and has since been working closely with university officials to secure the access, clear all cached data files, and run security checks to ensure the information was only accessible by authorized users.
Authorities said there is no indication the data was used inappropriately, but the university and department are notifying any individuals who information may have been exposed. Academic years include summer, fall and spring semesters, so the last participants affected by the breach were enrolled in spring 2012.