A call to encrypt goes unheeded

A call to encrypt goes unheeded

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) -- The state of Maryland stores social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and dates of birth in its computers.

A new bill was introduced in the General Assembly to better protect that information, but the cost was too high.

In November, FOX45 Crime and Justice Reporter Joy Lepola explained how state audits found 7 state agencies not fully protecting 7 million social security numbers.

Auditors want state agencies to encrypt those numbers.

“If you encrypt it, that obviously minimizes the possible risk if someone does break into your system because they can’t get the actual information to use it,” says Greg Hook, Deputy Legislative Auditor.

State Delegate Dana Stein saw Fox45’s story, and proposed a law to mandate encryption for state agencies.

The Department of Information Technology estimates the mandate would cost Maryland $22.4 million next fiscal year, and $8.7 million every year after that.

Stein withdrew his bill because of the costs.

“It’s not enough to say that well, we have firewalls and we have virus protection scans in our systems. We really need to make sure that should someone break into one of the databases, that our wonderful agencies maintains, that the information they get is encrypted,” Stein says.

Stein may re-introduce the bill next year.

For tips or information you think the Crime and Justice team should know about, please call us at 410.467.5595, email Joy Lepola at or Paul McGrew at, or mail us at Crime and Justice, 2000 w. 41st street, Baltimore, MD 21211

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