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SLO County Clerk-Recorder’s Office accidentally releases Social Security numbers

The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s “election window” located inside the County Government Center, in November.
The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s “election window” located inside the County Government Center, in November. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Twelve people, including 10 San Luis Obispo County residents, were notified this week that their Social Security numbers were “inadvertently” released to two private title companies because of a technical error, the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office said Thursday.

The 12 people have been notified of the breach and urged to monitor their credit reports, Assistant Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano said.

Electronic copies of official county records recorded between Feb. 16 and Dec. 16, 2016, containing unredacted Social Security numbers were released to the companies that own daily subscriptions to receive all recorded official public records from the Clerk-Recorder’s Office, according to the notices sent by the county.

The companies — Personal Insight and MPI — have long purchased images of the records from the county for examination by title insurers, the mortgage industry, financial institutions and credit agencies, the notices state.

When the county updated a computer program for its recording system a year ago, a feature that would have redacted the information during the export process was accidentally not set, revealing full Social Security numbers, Cano said.

“I use the term (data breach) very cautiously,” Cano said. “Nobody broke into the system and nothing was taken maliciously.”

The numbers were only shown in the exported data but not at the office’s public terminals.

The program settings have been corrected, and the companies were notified, provided redacted replacements and directed to destroy any copies of the unredacted documents, Cano said.

Matt Fountain: 805-781-7909, @MattFountain1

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