The city contractor goes out and drinks after work, loses memory stick with personal data of nearly half a million inhabitants

Written by Javed Iqbal

A Japanese city has been left with more than a headache after admitting that a contractor lost a USB stick with personal data of all 460,000 inhabitants during an evening in the city.

The western city of Amagasaki said on Thursday that a private contractor, whose name has not been revealed, was carrying the stick as he went to drink drinks after work.

But the person who worked on a municipal pandemic relief program lost his bag with the USB on Tuesday night.

“We deeply regret that we have deeply damaged public confidence in the administration of the city,” an Amagasaki official told a news conference.

The information was copied to the USB to facilitate its transfer to a call center in nearby Osaka.

It included names, gender, addresses, birthdays and other personal information of all city residents, as well as tax data and bank account information about some locals, the city said.

But there may be a golden edge as the city says the data was encrypted and USB locked with a password. So far, officials said, there was no sign that the information had been accessed.

The loss has been reported to the police, who are investigating the case.

“We will thoroughly ensure security management when handling electronic data,” the city said in a statement Kyodo news. “We will work to regain the trust of our residents by raising awareness of the importance of protecting privacy.”

According to the travel website Osaka info, Amagasaki is considered a “hotspot” for nightlife in the region.

“Community with friends and colleagues over food and drink is the norm, an easy goal to achieve given that there are plenty of izakayas (Japanese gastropubs), and draft beer and highballs (whiskey sodas) flow freely,” the page reads.

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Javed Iqbal

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