The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has put measures in place to prevent malicious and accidental situations where personal information could be potentially compromised, the Chief Healthcare IT Strategist with enterprise infrastructure engineering at the VA’s Office of Information and Technology said in an interview in In January 2009, the VA ended three years of litigation after a laptop was stolen in what is suspected to have been a routine burglary in 2006, with the VA agreeing to pay a $20 million settlement to those whose personal information was on the laptop. After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the personal information contained on the laptop had not been accessed by the thieves. Since then, to protect against the potential loss of sensitive information, the VA mandates full-disc encryption on all VA-issued laptops. This means that for government-owned equipment, if a laptop does get misplaced or stolen, the hardware is protected not just by password protection but the hard drive is fully encrypted so “even if someone took out the disc and put it in another computer as a second disc, they still wouldn’t be able to access its information.”

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