Controller: Confidential DHS records at risk for unauthorized access

Philadelphia DHS older foster care
A review released by City Controller Alan Butkovitz found confidential DHS records are at risk for unauthorized access.
Credit: Metro file photo

Confidential records kept in the Philadelphia Department of Human Services’ Family and Child Tracking Systems are at risk for consultants and employees to gain unauthorized access, according to a review released Tuesday by City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

Butkovitz found the list of those with access to the tracking software, which keeps information on troubled youth prepared by social workers, courts and health care professionals, included employees who are separate from the city.

One such employee hasn’t worked for the city since 1997, according to Butkovitz.

“Unauthorized access increases the risk that confidential data could be compromised and abused,” Butkovitz said in a statement.

He further found DHS management didn’t perform security background checks for workers employed with the agency’s software contractors, who were involved in the development and maintenance of the tracking system.

According to Butkovitz, the contractors had the ability to add, delete and modify confidential data.

“Providing contractors with open access to highly confidential records on children and their families may result in misuse by irresponsible individuals,” Butkovitz said in a statement.

“Background investigations should be addressed as part of the contracting process and should be completed by DHS prior to the start of the work to ensure that only appropriate people have access.”

Butkovitz said in the review DHS had neither a security officer nor a security policy for the software system, allowing for “systematic threats for unauthorized software modifications to occur and the risk of lost or compromised data.”

He also noted computer equipment assigned to DHS staff lacked the necessary capacity to efficiently store data and retrieve lost information, and that maintenance contracts weren’t adequately monitored and were allowed to expire, resulting in equipment not being serviced.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.