Latest episode in an ongoing problem for the US federal government

Over 1,000 laptops have gone missing from the U.S. Commerce Department since 2001, according to a department-wide review of missing, stolen or lost laptops. Most of the missing laptops belonged to and were used by the Census Bureau. The department did not release a list of number of people affected by the laptop losses. All of the laptops have some sort of encryption protection to help prevent anyone accessing personal information stored on the hard drives.

People defending the Census Bureau have been quick to point out that the numbers may not be as serious as reports indicate. Some temporary employees receive laptops to complete their work, and may not return the laptop after the job is completed. The department's report also discovered that 113 of the missing laptops were not returned by former employees.

Stolen or lost data and computer hardware has been a reoccurring problem for a number of companies and government agencies lately. Congress is becoming more concerned with all of the lost data and laptops that the government has been responsible for lately.  The Department of Veterans Affairs admitted that millions of veterans were at risk after a security breach. The Department later announced that another laptop containing the personal data of up to 38,000 veterans had been stolen. Three laptops were stolen from a locked storage closet in an American Red Cross office in July.

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