California County Courthouse Suffers Data Breach

Private personal information of potentially thousands of people was unintentionally available on public computers in the Sutter County Superior Courthouse.

by Monica Vaughan, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif. / June 14, 2016

(TNS) — Private personal information of potentially thousands of people was unintentionally available on public access computers in the Sutter County Superior Courthouse on Monday.

The data breach occurred when a new case management system went live Monday morning. The system was taken down the same afternoon after an Appeal-Democrat reporter alerted Court Executive Officer Stephanie Hansel that sensitive and private information was viewable to the public.

For about six hours, anyone who searched for a criminal or traffic case on public access computers could view the defendant's Social Security number, birthday, driver's license number and home address. State court rules clearly say such data should be redacted by court clerks for the protection of privacy.

"We shut it down as soon as I found out about it," Hansel said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

She said privacy settings hadn't properly been set up for public users. The system will remain down until successful security settings are tested.

"We're concerned about privacy," she said.

Both Yuba and Sutter county courthouses are transitioning to a new case system, called "Odyssey," which is managed by private company Tyler Technologies.

"The transition has been very challenging. We are trying really hard to meet everyone's needs," Hansel said. "This is a huge project."

©2016 the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.