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Motorola downplays data security breach

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A pair of computers containing personal information on Motorola workers stolen from the office of a third party contractor has sparked a minor security flap. The theft from the Chicago-area offices of human resources outsourcing firm Affiliated Computer Services resulted in the disclosure of the names and social security numbers - but not financial information - of an unspecified number of Motorola staffers.

"All employees were notified, but to this date there is no indication that any personal information has been compromised," ACS' chief marketing officer, Lesley Pool told Reuters. "It is clear that it was just an amateur burglary."

Police are investigating the break-in which happened on the Memorial Day (US Bank Holiday) weekend of 28-30 May. ACS won a $650m 10-year contract to manage Motorola's human resources system in December 2002.

Motorola has notified potentially affected staff by email. These workers are mainly based in the US and will be offered fraud insurance coverage at no charge. Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch said that no financial information was on the computers, adding that security safeguards used on the computers would make it difficult for thieves to swipe any information. Weyrauch declined to say whether the break-in would affect Motorola's relationship with ACS.

The mobile phone and network equipment manufacturer is the latest in a growing list of firms affected by either customer or employee security breaches including Citigroup, MCI, ChoicePoint and Reed Elsevier. ®

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