SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/AP) – California child support officials said four data cartridges containing personal information for 800,000 parents and children — including their names and social security numbers — have been lost by IBM and transportation company Iron Mountain Inc.

Office of Technology Services spokeswoman Christine Lally said there’s hope the information won’t be accessed because a specialized machine, along with special hardware and software are needed to read it.

KCBS’ Larry Magid Reports:

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid said that this announcement comes on the same day that MasterCard and Visa notified users of a potential breach of security of customer accounts.

The department has notified all those possibly affected by the March 12 data loss. The agency’s interim director, Kathleen Hrepich, said the incident won’t affect the processing of child support cases.

The backup storage cartridges had been sent to IBM’s facility in Boulder, Colo., as part of a disaster simulation. Lally said the cartridges are believed to have been lost in transit from Sacramento.

The data cartridges also contained addresses, driver license numbers, names of health insurance providers and employers.

Magid said there are a lot of discussions going on in the security field about consumer protection but nothing is in the works as far as a permanent solution.

You can hear Larry Magid’s Tech Report Monday through Friday at 3:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

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