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By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
8th December 2010
NASA officials failed to wipe sensitive agency data from computers
before releasing them to the public, a violation of procedures that are
part of the plan to securely end the Space Shuttle program, an audit
released on Tuesday said.
Kennedy Space Center in Florida =E2=80=93 one of four NASA sites with reported
weaknesses in the disposition process =E2=80=93 cleared the release of 14
computers to the public that had failed tests to verify data had been
destroyed, the report found. Of the four that remained in NASA's
possession, one contained Space Shuttle related data that was subject to
export control by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The
audit, prepared by NASA's Inspector General, covered a 12-month period
starting in June 2009.
=E2=80=9CThe weaknesses we identified in NASA's IT sanitization policy and
procedures put NASA at risk of releasing sensitive information that
could cause harm to its mission and violate federal laws and regulations
that protect such information,=E2=80=9D the report stated.
The investigators also found hard drives that were missing from Kennedy
and the Langley Research Center in Virginia. Some of the hard drives
were later found inside a publicly accessible dumpster.
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