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FEMA Wrongly Released Personal Data of Victims in California Wildfires, Other Disasters: Watchdog

FEMA Wrongly Released Personal Data of Victims in California Wildfires, Other Disasters: Watchdog

Erika Martin
2019-03-22 16:25:57


A man watches the Thomas Fire in the hills above Carpinteria on Dec. 11, 2017. (Credit: Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency wrongly released to a contractor the personal information of 2.3 million survivors of devastating 2017 hurricanes and wildfires, potentially exposing the victims to identity fraud and theft, a government watchdog reported Friday.

The Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General found the breach occurred when FEMA was working with a contractor that helps provide temporary housing to those affected by disasters. FEMA is one of Homeland Security’s many agencies; the sprawling 240,000-person department also includes immigration enforcement, and the U.S. Secret Service.

FEMA officials said that since the discovery of the issue, the agency was no longer sharing unnecessary data with the contractor and has conducted a detailed review of the contractor’s information system and has found no indication to suggest data has been compromised.

The agency said in a…



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