Someone brazenly walked into the graduate division of the University of California at Berkeley two weeks ago and stole a laptop. The thief walked off not only with a nifty technological device but also key identifying information -- including Social Security numbers of nearly 98,369 people who either were or applied to be graduate students at Berkeley between 1976 and last year.
Berkeley officials announced the theft Monday on the university's Web site.
They said they had no evidence that the personal information had actually been misused yet. But Cal officials said they were complying with a state law that requires consumers to be notified when sensitive information about them has been breached. The university is making "every reasonable effort to notify by mail or e-mail all 98,369 individuals whose names and Social Security numbers were on the computer."
The university has created a Web page for those concerned they may have been affected by the theft. Those targeted include applicants to Berkeley's graduate programs from fall 2001 through spring 2004; graduate students at Berkeley from fall 1989 through fall 2003; and doctoral recipients at the university from 1976 and 1999.
The Berkeley incident is the latest in a string of campus security breaches, including another recent one at California State University at Chico.