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SFO Theft story far from clear...
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 10:54:38 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: Paul Saffo <paul () saffo com>
Date: August 12, 2008 10:06:32 AM EDT
To: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: SFO Theft story far from clear...

D-The plot thickens...
-p

SFO laptop mystery treated as theft, cops say
John Coté, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Investigators are treating the disappearance and recovery of a laptop containing personal information on 33,000 travelers enrolled in a fast- pass program at San Francisco International Airport as a theft, authorities said today.

The move came as the Transportation Security Administration announced it was lifting a freeze on registration for the program, known as Clear.

The Clear service speeds registered travelers through airport security lines. Verified Identity Pass operates the program at about 20 airports nationwide.

New enrollments in the program were suspended after a laptop with names, addresses and birthdates for people applying to the program disappeared from a locked Verified Identity Pass office at the airport. The files on the laptop were not encrypted, but were protected by two passwords, a company official said.

A preliminary investigation showed that the information was not compromised, said Steven Brill, CEO of Clear, but the TSA is still reviewing the results of its forensic examination of the computer.

The laptop was reported missing to airport police and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office on July 26 and to the TSA on July 28. It reappeared in the same locked office - although in a different place - Aug. 5, the day after the TSA announced it was suspending new enrollments in the Clear program, authorities said.

"We are treating this as a theft," sheriff's Sgt. Wes Matsuura said. "It was taken from their office, and the office, from our understanding, was locked at the time."

Investigators have interviewed some Verified Identity Pass employees, and planned to interview more, Matsuura said. Brill said his employees were being encouraged to cooperate with police.

"We'll make our employees available," Brill said. "We'll recommend our employees take polygraphs, because we're as interested as they are in figuring out how this happened."

There are airport security cameras outside the office that should be able to shed light on the theft, Brill said. Investigators also dusted the laptop for fingerprints and were able to get at least one decent fingerprint from an area where a sticker with the serial number had been removed, he added.

The laptop was part of a kiosk that was taken to companies and downtown locations and used to enroll travelers in the Clear program, according to the company.

"I think someone saw a piece of hardware - a laptop - and decided to take it," Brill said. "Whether it was our employee or not, who knows."

E-mail John Coté at jcote () sfchronicle com
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/12/BADV129864.DTL

This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle







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