Congressional Hearing Set On USDA Data Breach - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Congressional Hearing Set On USDA Data Breach

An Ohio Congressman said the security breach not only puts people at risk for identity theft but also makes farmers reluctant to participate in federal programs.

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing next week about the data leak at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that put the identifying information on up to 150,000 people at risk.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2.

Ohio Congressman Zack Space openly criticized the USDA's actions, and said next week's hearing will explore how the breach happened, proposed remedies, and recommendations on how to keep this from happening again.

"This is a pattern of security breaches in government agencies that is becoming all too familiar. But even with this familiarity, it's inexcusable in every instance," he said in a written statement. "Congress has a responsibility to make sure that the agency is doing everything possible to rectify the situation, make sure that it doesn't happen again, and make sure that victims are notified and compensated."

Space said he contacted House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, asking for the hearing. Peterson agreed to Space's request on Wednesday.

The USDA announced on April 20 that it had inadvertently exposed online sensitive information, such as names and Social Security numbers, in a publicly available database. The database has existed since 1981 and the information has been exposed ever since it was put online, according to Terri Teuber, director of communications for the USDA.

Today, the database contains information on 47,000 people who receive USDA funding from the Farm Services Agency and the USDA Rural Development agency, according to an advisory. USDA has identified between 105,000 and 150,000 individuals whose private information has been entered into the federal database at some time during the past 26 years.

"It's often the case that the farmers who need help from these programs the most are the ones that don't participate in the programs. The revelation of the actions of the USDA will only make these farmers more reluctant to trust the government," added Space. "My mission is to help restore the American people's trust in their government. The government should work to support domestic agriculture producers, not put them at risk of identity theft."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
Data Science: How the Pandemic Has Affected 10 Popular Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/9/2020
The Growing Security Priority for DevOps and Cloud Migration
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  9/3/2020
Dark Side of AI: How to Make Artificial Intelligence Trustworthy
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  9/15/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Automation Transforms Network Management
In this special report we will examine the layers of automation and orchestration in IT operations, and how they can provide high availability and greater scale for modern applications and business demands.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll