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Man arrested for stealing local gov't hard drives with personal info

A 50-year-old man has been arrested for stealing hard disk drives after the Kanagawa prefectural government reported some of its discarded drives, with personal information on them, had been sold online, police said Saturday.
Yuichi Takahashi, an employee of information equipment recycling company Broadlink Co, was charged with stealing a total of 12 hard drives stored at his company's technical center on Tuesday.
He has admitted to the allegation, saying he had intended to sell them online, and also admitted to taking 18 hard drives containing personal information of individuals discarded by the Kanagawa government, according to the police.
As part of its agreement with the Kanagawa prefectural government, Broadlink was supposed to delete the data from the drives of the computer servers.
Takahashi told the police that he had stolen hard drives on several occasions since around March 2016, and the police are investigating other potential cases.
The situation first came to light after a man who bought nine hard drives in an internet auction contacted the Kanagawa government. Even though the data was supposed to have been deleted, the successful bidder was able to restore the drives using special software.
The data included individuals' names, addresses, tax payment records for automobiles, notification of tax investigation with names of companies, as well as records of the prefecture's operations. It was not encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.
The servers have been leased from Fujitsu Leasing Co, which commissioned Broadlink to scrap the hard drives after they were replaced.
Broadlink held a snap inspection on Tuesday and found Takahashi was in possession of the 12 hard drives. A security camera also captured the image of Takahashi taking the hard drives, according to the police.


© KYODO
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