Texas

Audit: Former City of Dallas Employees Accessed Confidential Information in Computer Files

The electronic materials of the case contained confidential information about the defendants.

The results of the recent review were detailed in a presentation to the government’s Efficiency and Financial Management Committee on Monday. The audit examined practices from FY2018 to FY20 and found that 26% of the users who had access to the case file management system were former city employees.

Both the South Dallas Drug Court and the Oak Cliff Veterans Treatment Court are grant-funded institutions that hear substance abuse cases. The audit noted that the materials contained in the CaseWorthy records management system are confidential.

This included the defendants’ treatment programs and the course of treatment.

“I think we can all recognize that this is problematic,” Council member Kara Mendolson said at a committee meeting on Monday.

The audit also found that the paper and electronic materials of the case “do not contain complete and accurate records” about the progress or completion of treatment of the participants in the trial. In addition, the courts were unable to provide an accurate list of the participants who were enrolled in the program.

The audit pointed to a lack of “well-defined written procedures” for financial activities consistent with city policy. However, these concerns are classified as “low risk” in the report.

This is not the first time the city has been scrutinized for data mishandling. In 2021, a city information technology officer deleted 22 terabytes of data from city drives while migrating files from a cloud platform to a local archive.

Some of these files have been recovered, but more than 7 TB have been deemed “unrecoverable”. In a report released after the data was removed, the city was criticized for its lack of a data management policy.

This latest audit represents another issue with city government systems that could compromise a Dallas resident’s confidential information.

“We need to better understand who has access to what,” said city auditor Mark Swann.

The city said it is working to use more computer systems for two-factor authentication.

Swann says ex-employee accounts need to be deactivated quickly.

“There’s always the possibility that something could happen, so you need to make sure you’ve done everything you can to prevent bad actions,” Swann said.

Bret Jaspers contributed to this report.

Any advice? Email Nathan Collins at [email protected] You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

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