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Veterans sue government over data breach

Class-action lawsuit follows the theft of a Veterans Affairs device containing personal data on about 26.5 million veterans.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been hit with a class-action lawsuit following the theft last month of a device containing personal information on about 26.5 million veterans. Five organizations and several individuals have asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to force the agency to individually inform everyone affected and to pay $1,000 each to anyone whose privacy has been harmed, Vietnam Veterans of America said Tuesday. The suit also seeks to prevent the department from using the data until safeguards have been put in place. Vietnam Veterans of America said that the National Gulf War Resource Center, Radiated Veterans of America, Citizen Soldier and Veterans for Peace are the other groups involved in the legal action.

A message posted on the Veteran Affairs Web site last month said that the breached data covered Social Security numbers and dates of birth for veterans and some of their spouses. On Tuesday, however, the department said information on about 2.2 million active-duty, National Guard and Reserve troops may have also been exposed.