Jul 14, 2015

Archuleta Resigns Amidst Data Breach, NAGE Pushes for Further Action

WASHINGTON, DC – Katherine Archuleta resigned from her position as the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management last Friday. Her departure comes as the agency grapples with an ongoing data breach that has come to affect over 21.5 million people. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director of Management Beth Cobert will assume the role of acting director until a successor is appointed.
While the move has been well received by critics, National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) National President, David J. Holway, states that Archuleta's resignation "does nothing to provide adequate protection to those employees, retirees, and applicants whose data has been breached, nor does it prevent such events from happening moving forward. In 2014, congress approved just $7 million total on cybersecurity for OPM. The Department of Defense was appropriated $8.9 billion in the same year on cybersecurity. With such little funding approved by congress it was a matter of time before the hackers caught up."

Over 21.5 million people have had their data stolen since earlier this year, more than 5 times as many people as are currently employed by the federal government. This data may have included social security numbers, bank accounts, fingerprints, home addresses, and phone numbers. Furthermore, security clearance data, related to a person's financial, medical, criminal, and gambling/drug abuse histories may have also been affected.
NAGE has called for increased protections for those affected after discovering OPM's current protections were not only inadequate, but egregiously unfair. While victims of the second data breach are being offered a "suite of remedies" including 3 years of credit monitoring, those affected by the first breach will only be receiving 18 months and scant additional protections.
In a letter published in coalition with other unions to President Obama, NAGE condemned OPM's response as "lackluster” and criticized their communication during the crisis as "challenging, if not impossible, to come by" and "a job at which, frankly [OPM] has failed."

In the statement, NAGE calls on President Obama to:

Offer lifetime credit monitoring to all federal employees.

Provide retroactive loss coverage back to 2013.

Expand loss coverage from $1m to as much as $5m.

Upgrade OPM's technology and cybersecurity infrastructure.

Appoint an ensemble task force with broad powers to offer recommendations and adjust OPM's communication protocols.

With NAGE's support, a group of lawmakers in both houses have announced legislation to increase protections to federal employees that were subject to the hack. Known as the RECOVER Act, the legislation would offer lifetime identity theft protection to those whose data had been compromised in the attack and insurance of up to $5 million. The legislation is sponsored by representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) in the House and Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Barbara Mukulski (D-MD) in the Senate.

"Federal employees and retirees who have been thrust into uncertainty about the security of their personal data will get no peace of mind without lifetime identity theft protection,” wrote Norton in a statement about the bill.

NAGE and its affiliates, including the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, have not stopped at legislation in their fight to offer reparations to the victims of the hack. NAGE has stated it will continue to consider all avenues to redress the violations against its members' personal and private data.


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Katherine Archuleta testifies at a Senate hearing last month.
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NAGE HEADQUARTERS 159 Burgin Parkway
Quincy, MA 02169
Main Phone: (617)376-0220
Main Fax: (617)984-5695
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