South Carolina Governor Faces Security Breach Lawsuit

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A class action lawsuit has been filed against South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and the South Carolina Department of Revenue, claiming that the state failed to protect its citizens' personal information from hackers.

"On Friday, Haley and other officials announced that 3.6 million Social Security numbers had been exposed when an international hacker broke into the state system. ... Haley has said the hacking could not have been avoided and no state employees are facing disciplinary actions," writes The Augusta Chronicle's Sarita Chourey.

"South Carolina revealed the hack ... 16 days after the Secret Service informed the state of the breach," writes The State's Andrew Shain.

"The suit, filed by former Sen. John Hawkins, a Spatanburg lawyer, on behalf of others, alleges that DOR officials and Haley failed to 'expeditiously' disclose the breach and to encrypt the data exposed to the hacker," writes The Greenville News' Tim Smith. "The lawsuit seeks a determination of whether Haley and DOR violated the law and if so are liable for a fine of up to $1,000 per person whose records were exposed."

"Calling the hacking of 3.6 million Social Security numbers a 'cyber hurricane,' the former Republican lawmaker hopes to represent all South Carolina taxpayers whose personal information was illegally accessed earlier this year," writes The Spartanburg Herald Journal's Andrew Doughman.

"Tragically for the people of South Carolina, there were cost effective, non-cumbersome steps that could have been taken by these defendants, but for whatever reason, there were not," Hawkins said in a statement [PDF file]. "The basis of this lawsuit is that the defendants were grossly negligent in their failure to prevent what they should have seen coming and that they failed to notify the public of the breach in a timely manner."

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