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Attorney General Investigates Private Info Published Online


Photo: Stephanie Keeney (flickr)

The federal Lifeline program gives phones to low-income individuals in case of emergencies.

An investigation is underway after the Indiana Attorney General was notified about a potential privacy breach of thousands of low-income Hoosiers by an Oklahoma-based telecommunications company.

TerraCom Incorporated distributes telephones to low-income Hoosiers through the federal Lifeline program, established under the Reagan Administration as a way to ensure those at or below the poverty line have access to a phone for emergencies and employment.

State Attorney General Greg Zoeller says he was informed by a national media outlet that its investigation found Hoosiers’ private information such as addresses and social security numbers gathered by TerraCom was available on the internet.

A TerraCom security notice says it is investigating the possible security breach and working to ensure no further information is released.

But Zoeller says he does not think TerraCom is cooperating.

“The fact that they pointed their fingers at the press who discovered this vulnerability, that’s a bad sign to me,” he says. “They should be taking full responsibility.”

Zoeller says his office is working with Indiana utility regulators and the Federal Communications Commission to examine TerraCom’s operations in the state and pursue potential legal action.

TerraCom could not be reached for comment.

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