Amagasaki city
A train car runs near the disaster site of the JR Fukuchiyama Line in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture on April 25, 2018, marking the 13th anniversary of the derailment that killed the driver, 106 passengers and injured 562 others in April 25, 2005. About 860 bereaved families of the victims and survivors of the accident attended the memorial service and prayed silently for the victims at 9:18 a.m., the time the accident occurred. The 9-story building at the accident site is left to the 1st-4th floor part, and the installation work of the roof for preservation has continued. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

USB Drive lost with personal data of residents of Amagasaki city

A drunk worker, a USB flash drive and personal details of 465,177 residents of the city of Amagasaki in Japan is now the most famous news in the country.

According to NHK, a news agency based in Japan, a man in his mid-40s fell asleep on street after drinking alcohol at a restaurant. What makes the case more complicated is that a USB flash drive with personal details of residents of the city of Amagasaki was with him when he fell asleep. And now that USB is missing.

The man was working for a company which was tasked with a project to provide benefits to tax-exempt households in the city.

He went to the information centre run by the city administration on Tuesday and transferred data of 465,177 people into a flash drive. Data includes the names of residents, their birthdates, and addresses.

Along with that, sensitive information about tax details, bank account names, numbers, and information regarding households which receive public assistance was present on the drive.

After collecting data and working on it, he went on to drink at a nearby restaurant and fell asleep on street. He lost his bag containing the USB Flash Drive while he was drunk.

On Wednesday, the employee tried to check for the drive, but did not find it. He then filed a lost property case with the police authorities. After a few hours, the company he was working for informed the city government and authorities that the flash drive was missing.

Kazumi Inamura, Mayor of Amagasaki apologized for the incident in a press meet
Kazumi Inamura, Mayor of Amagasaki apologized for the incident in a press meet

According to a statement from Amagasaki city authorities, even though the employee was authorized to get access to the sensitive data, he was not permitted to transfer it to any device.

If at all he had transferred the data, he was supposed to erase the data from the USB after completing his work.

The statement also mentioned that there was severe negligence on the part of the worker as he carried a flash drive with data of entire city residents instead of using any secure mode of transportation.

Even though there hasn’t been any confirmation regarding any data leak, city authorities stated that the USB was encrypted.

Kazumi Inamura, mayor of the city, along with other authorities convened a press conference in which she apologized to residents for the incident. Authorities also promised that they will take necessary steps to tighten security procedures regarding accessing private information.

An Official statement from city authorities stated that they will make payments to eligible households without any delay. Residents will also be provided with more information about the case as the investigation is underway.