University of Iowa – Stolen Laptop

October 10, 2007

University of Iowa Students now have to be on the lookout for identity theft after a teaching assistant’s laptop was stolen from his house in Arizona in September 15, 2007.

The laptop contained personal information on 184 students including the social security numbers for at least 100 of the names listed. The information on the laptop was for students registered in philosopy courses between 2002 and 2006. Students affected were in sections of "Philosophy and Human Nature," "Philosophy and the Just Society," and "Principles of Reasoning" taught by Tuomas Manninen.

The personal information was buried deep in the directory structure but not encrypted. Information Technology Security Officer Jane Drews analyzed backup copies of the files and found them an unlikely source for committing identity theft. That’s easy for someone to say when it’s not their ss number affected.

Back in June 2006, another professor’s laptop was stolen in Davenport, Iowa that had the personal info of 280 current and former students of the Tippie College of Business’s Master’s of Business Administration program. The University of Iowa announced at the time that they were trying to reduce the use of a student’s ss number and evaluating security precautions for laptops and other mobile devices. Apparently they haven’t made much progress in the past year with their security protection.

What can an identity thief do with your personal information?



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