Lottery attorney Rob Porter told the Lottery Board today that the information was part of an open records request made by a journalist who was doing a story on lotteries.
“The data that was provided that included the sensitive information was published to a website in mid-September. It remained on that website for approximately ten days, until Sunday afternoon when the Iowa Lottery requested that the data be pulled down,”Porter says.
Porter says the information involved those who had won a lottery prize of more than $600 in 2011 and that included 2,967 people. “The information does not appear in the main text of the excel spread sheet,” Porter says, “and further, where the information does appear, the data is contained in unrecognizable abbreviations. You have to manipulate the tabs in the data to get the confidential information.”
Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich says they are taking steps to let those involved know about the situation. “We’ll offer a credit monitoring service for them. So, those affected will receive a letter soon…once we identified it, we fixed it and now we will notify them and through this process notify the public,”Rich says.
He says they reviewed how the information got out to try to prevent future problems. “The information was actually encoded — you had to know how to find the information with about six different clicks from the original site — and we immediately began discussing how to make sure that it would never happen again,” according to Rich.
Rich says anyone with questions about the release of the information can call the Iowa Lottery office.