Interior security flagged again

Thursday, 2 May 2002, 2:52 PM EST

A month after getting permission to reconnect some of its sites to the Internet, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service is back in the hot seat.

MMS has once again caught the attention of court-appointed Special Master Alan Balaran for failing to protect individual American Indian trust data. Balaran had approved the partial reopening of the sites.

During the past month, IBM Corp., working as a consultant to Balaran, found potential inadequacies in information security during four visits to state tribal accounting offices managed by MMS, according to the special master. "I share IBM's concern that there may exist a lack of protocols securing royalty data and that, in reaction to the court's orders, individual Indian trust data has simply been migrated from one insecure system to another," Balaran said in an April 30 letter to Justice Department attorney Sandra Spooner.

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