About 621,000 Colorado residents will receive letters from the State Court Administrator’s Office notifying them that personal-identifying information was temporarily published online.
Residents in Southwest Colorado began receiving the letters this week, and some letters continue to be delivered, said Jon Sarche, spokesman with the Colorado Judicial Department.
The online data contained 620,945 names with corresponding Social Security numbers and dates of birth. It was posted to a Colorado Judicial Department websites but has since been removed, according to the Aug. 14 letter sent to residents.
Sarche on Wednesday said 15,000 letters would be sent to residents in Montezuma and Dolores counties. It’s likely La Plata County had close to 15,000 residents on its sample list, Sarche said. Those residents also will be notified of the mistake, he said.
The Judicial Department was notified July 27 of the situation by someone in Alaska, who found the information through an internet search.
The State Court Administrator’s Office immediately shut down internal and external access to all of those files.
The files were sample lists of jury rolls from each county that are used by court clerks to verify the accuracy of their larger voter lists.
The jury rolls are drawn from income tax filings, and voter and motor vehicle registrations, Sarche said.
In researching the exposure, the State Court Administrator’s Office learned four out of 65 jury files containing 41,140 names had been accessed externally.
The counties included Crowley (2,260 names), Pueblo (15,001 names), Rio Grande (8,878 names) and Weld (15,001 names).
“The lists for those counties we know were accessed by somebody outside the department,” Sarche said.
“The rest of them, we have no indication they were accessed by an outsider.”
But names from other counties were searchable on the Judicial Department’s website, he said.
The data could not be accessed by external search engines.
“We only know of a small handful of times that any of this information was accessed,” Sarche said.
“And there’s no indication that there was any mass download of the information.”
The number of names exposed for any one county depended on the number of residents living in that county. The upper limit for any one county was 15,000 residents.
“We are notifying you out of an abundance of caution,” the letter says. “We believe the risk of this exposure is minimal.”
Some residents have thought the letter itself is a scam, Sarche said. The judicial branch has notified law enforcement agencies across the state of the situation in case residents have questions about the legitimacy of the letter, he said.