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Medical Data Breaches Affected More Than 10 Million Americans In 2011

Aired 12/20/11 on KPBS News.

It's been a bad year for data security, with a number of high profile medical data breaches reported.

— 2011 has been a bad year for medical data breaches. The medical records of more than ten million Americans were exposed this year.

The San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has issued a list of this year's six most significant data breaches.

The insurer Health Net suffered one of the worst, when nine data servers went missing from a Northern California data center in January. The servers contained records of nearly two million current and former policy holders.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Director Beth Givens said medical data breaches are especially troubling.

"Because not only is that sensitive medical information compromised, but most medical records also contain social security numbers and dates of birth," Givens pointed out.

Givens said it's hard to link identity theft with a particular data breach. She recommends people check their credit card statements and get a credit report at least once a year.

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