Buyout participants’ information secured
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole has been informed by the USDA that data containing the tax identification and Social Security numbers of approximately 80,000 North Carolina tobacco buyout participants has been returned to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) or destroyed.
In the March 17 press release, Dole states that she hopes the news offers some relief to the thousands of affected North Carolinians. “The release of personal information can be very damaging. I have been informed that [the] FSA acted quickly to mitigate misuse of this data, and I am hopeful that my constituents will not experience further distress from this incident.”
Upon learning that data had been mistakenly disclosed, Dole asked that safeguards be put in place to prevent future mishaps. USDA Undersecretary J.B. Penn has informed Dole that the FSA has implemented a more stringent policy to ensure the protection of personal information in the future.