Money & Business

Associations Want Protection For Federal Employees Affected by OPM Data Breaches

By / Jul 14, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A host of associations are speaking out about the two recent Office of Personnel Management data breaches affecting millions of federal employees and how the government should be working to protect those impacted.

The personal data of 21.5 million former, current, and prospective federal employees was stolen as a result of a recent cyberattack, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced last week.

The sensitive data includes the Social Security numbers of 19.7 million people who applied for jobs and subsequent background checks with the federal government as well as 1.8 nonapplicants. This news comes after OPM announced a previous breach that occurred in April, which affected 4 million current and former federal employees.

The breaches led to the resignation of OPM Director Katherine Archuleta last Friday and have prompted strong responses from several associations.

Despite offering several resources, including free credit and fraud monitoring for three years, OPM is not doing enough for those affected, according to National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

“For these 21.5 million people, a lifetime’s worth of information was exposed,” Richard G. Thissen, president of the NARFE, said in a statement last week. “They deserve nothing less than a lifetime of protection. Three years is not enough and will not bring peace of mind to those awaiting official notification that they were impacted by this incident.”

The president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association expressed similar concern about how the first reported breach would affect its members back in June.

“Action must be taken to protect these federal law enforcement officers and their families,” FLEOA President Jon Adler said in a statement. “Lifetime credit monitoring needs to be provided for the victims of this breach. Additionally, to remedy this gross incompetence, OPM must implement new preventative measures and should move background investigations back under the FBI and install a separate database for officers and their families and those with security clearances.”

Meanwhile, the Professional Services Council, whose members include companies that provide technology and professional services to the federal government, said it was happy government contractors would be treated the same as federal employees when it comes to protections and benefits.

“They’re doing now what we urged them and our member companies to do before this announcement, which is to offer a full array of identity theft monitoring tools to give those at risk peace of mind in this disturbing and difficult time,” Stan Soloway, PSC president and CEO, said in a statement.

Soloway added that though the group is optimistic, it’s a cautious optimism. “It is essential that the government accurately articulate its requirements for the call center and the support website to ensure that information and protections are processed and made available in a timely, accurate, and secure manner.”

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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