(By Laura Zuckerman, Reuters) – An Idaho man is suing the U.S. government for compromising his personal information in computer hacks revealed earlier this year at the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that put the private data of at least 21.5 million Americans at risk.
Victor Hobbs, an aviation safety specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration, claims the U.S. hiring agency violated his constitutional right to privacy and was negligent by failing to properly secure his personal information.
The OPM has said data stolen from its computer networks included Social Security numbers and other sensitive data on millions of current and former federal workers and people who underwent security clearances background checks.
Hobbs is seeking monetary and other damages and has asked a federal judge to grant class action status for his lawsuit. It names as defendants OPM officials and a contractor that ran background investigations for the agency.
The data breach, which was revealed in June, led to the resignation of OPM head Katherine Archuleta the following month, as well as to calls by Congress for the security of the federal government’s computer systems to be sharply upgraded.
The United States has identified China as the leading suspect in the extensive hacking but China’s Foreign Ministry earlier this year dismissed that assertion as “absurd logic.”
Several other lawsuits, including from two unions representing federal workers, have been filed in federal courts elsewhere in the nation accusing the OPM of violating privacy and other rights in relation to the data hack.
The OPM and its contractor have not yet filed responses in Hobbs’ lawsuit, which was filed in August but reported on by local media in Idaho on Friday.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)