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Ouch--data theft.

THIS SPRING OHIO UNIVERsity joined the not-so-exclusive club of institutions dealing with the aftermath of data breaches. For this school of nearly 17,000 undergraduates, a potentially costly lawsuit got thrown into the mix.

A month after current and former students were notified of the system leaks, alumni Donald Jay Kulpa and Kenneth David Neben flied a class-action suit in the State of Ohio Court of Claims. Besides seeking judgment that the university's acts and omissions in the wake of the discovery were negligent and deliberately indifferent to the plaintiffs' constitutional right to privacy, the suit requests "class-wide relief in the form of a court-administered credit monitoring and/or identity monitoring" as well as expenses, should an identity crime occur.

Here's a look at the data important to this lawsuit and what the numbers could mean for Ohio University's pocketbook:

600--Average number of hours (often over a period of years) an identity-theft victim spends recovering from the crime

$1,400--Average out-of-pocket expenses a victim incurs after an identity theft crime

$4.95--The monthly cost of a very basic credit monitoring service

$12.95--The monthly cost of a common credit monitoring service

173,000--Individuals whose Social Security numbers were compromised by Ohio U data breaches

$2.6 million--$6.7 million*--Institution's cost, should the court order three months of credit monitoring per person whose Social Security number was compromised

$140,000--Additional cost for the school, should 100 people incur an average amount of expenses battling an identity theft crime

$14 million--Additional cost for the school, should 10,000 people incur an average amount of expenses battling an identity theft crime

* An institution purchasing a service on behalf of individuals may be able to negotiate a significant discount. The credit bureau Experian's security breach recovery program could provide a discount of up to 80 percent, for example.

SOURCES: State of Ohio Court documents; Identity Theft Resource Center; Experian; TrueCredit.com (a division of TransUnion); Equifax.
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Title Annotation:BEHIND the NEWS
Author:Ezarik, Melissa
Publication:University Business
Date:Aug 1, 2006
Words:324
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