Sen. Helps Man Get Account Cancelled

8:24 PM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Columbia man found our that the private information he put in the website would almost need an act of Congress to get deleted, even though the website sent his information to someone else.

"I wanted my information off the website," said Tom Dougall.  "That's all I wanted."

Dougall started asking for his account to be deleted on October 1st and says it took five days.  He wanted to cancel his account after a North Carolina man called to say he had a copy of Tom's online application.

"I still had my information but my information was being passed out to at least him that we know about because he called," Dougall said.  "Wether it went to anyone else?  Nobody's been able to answer that question."

Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) asked Centers for Medicare and Medicaid administrator Marilyn Tavenner about the mixup and site security during a hearing Tuesday.

"We will find him and follow up on his question," Tavenner said.

Meanwhile, a cyber security expert at the University of South Carolina says he doesn't expect hackers to rely on as a treasure trove of personal secrets.

"If you are opening a new account, no matter where it is, especially a government website, that information should be kept private and secure," said Dr. Mark Harris, a professor in USC's Integrated Information Technology Department. 

"If I'm a cyber thief, I'll go to your Facebook page and get your birthday, your address, where you live. I'll go to your LinkedIn and find out your past positions, what companies you've worked for," Harris said.  "I'll add all that together and have more information that what I could get off Healthcare dot gov."

Still, Justin Hadley, the North Carolina man who received Dougall's information, got his account canceled too.

"It's a little unnerving," Hadley said.  "At first, when I first got the information it was a little shocking and ya know the whole process has just been a little stressful.  Ya know, trying to just get a problem resolved is a lot longer process than what I expected it to be."

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