MCCCD mismanagement of national service funds leads to a Justice Department investigation that ultimately lands MCCCD with a $4 million fine. The whistleblower in this case was not punished, however it took government intervention for the MCCCD Administration to be exposed. Even then, they continue to use taxpayer dollars to pay a $4 million fine without accepting any responsibility.
In a similar case of whistleblowing, several FTC complaints have been filed against MCCCD regarding the MCCCD security breach. This was the largest breach in Education in the country and another case of mismanagement and scapegoating of employees. This breach impacted over 2 million people. In this case, the whistleblower was punished and the administration continues to deny any responsibility, a costly pattern of behavior.
The most recent FTC complaint was filed by EPIC, a non-profit organization based out of Washington, DC. It alleges violation of the Safeguard Rules, another apparent case of mismanagement at MCCCD that could result in more hefty fines and public embarrasment. The security breach has cost Maricopa taxpayers upwards of $20 million and the court cases are in their infancy. A class action lawsuit of over $6 billion dollars representing all those impacted by the breach is now in Federal court. Other lawsuits will follow.
EPIC urges FTC to investigate
And then there were two…
In what appears to be a renewed interest in the MCCCD security breach case, a new FTC complaint has now been filed by EPIC about this now “EPIC” college breach story that may set a precedence for compliance in educational institutions across the country. They now joined a previous FTC complaint filed by databreaches.net
EPIC is a public interest research center located in Washington, DC. They focus on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues and is a leading advocate before the FTC. EPIC has previously testified before Congress on the need for financial institutions and companies to protect consumers against data breaches.
If these FTC complaints hold sway with the FTC, this could turn into the most significant breach in the world of education and bring about a sea of change. These complaints claim that MCCCD is to be held responsible under the ‘Safeguard Rule” of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GBL) Act.
Here is the latest information.
EPIC Press release
Databreaches.net coverage of this topic
EPIC seeks enforcement action over Arizona data breaches - Computerworld
Attached is the response to the Chancellor’s recommendation to terminate Mr. Miguel Corzo’s employment.
The letters below were sent to the Governing Board in response to the upcoming Board meeting.
The MCCCD Administration is accusing Mr. Corzo of not doing a job that wasn’t his to do, being responsible for systems he wasn’t supposed to be responsible for, knowing about a document that was never shared with him, not communicating upwards when he repeatedly did so, and not doing enough during an incident in 2011 when he was onsite, working with his staff and others to help MCCCD address a small security breach. In 2013 when the second and larger breach took place, Mr. Corzo was no longer assigned to any supervisory or database duties.
The ERPs at MCCCD that Mr. Corzo was responsible for were never compromised in 2011. A small database residing on the main maricopa webservers was compromised. This database was the responsibility of the marketing department and the network and server team at MCCCD not Mr. Corzo’s team.
It is not what happened in 2011 that matters as much as what the Administration did after 2011 and before the 2013 incident. The 2011 incident was indeed minor. Nothing really happened of any significance. The Administration simply ignored or decided to take a chance on documents provided to them that clearly stated that something had to be done to repair our systems after a minor breach. That was a calculated risk that unfortunately had serious consequences and no one in the Administration wants to be responsible for. Mr. Corzo warned the Administration multiple times with 12 letters, including 3 emails regarding an IT grievance that clearly stated that MCCCD was at great risk of exposing personal data. Mr. Corzo followed every process in place. He gave the Chancellor more than enough time to at least meet with him to discuss his concerns. Nothing ever happened and MCCCD is now facing their biggest legal battle in their history and the highest attrition levels in IT ever. Not only that, the Administration is using the very same employees that tried to help MCCCD as scapegoats.
There is a lot taking place inside and outside MCCCD that the public needs to know. At stake is the future one of the largest and most affordable educational institutions in the country.
If you have any documents or information that could help reveal what took place or what’s taking place today at MCCCD, please complete the form below. You may also mail a letter to the address below. We will keep your information confidential.
The Galvan Law Firm
P.O. Box 17690
Fountain Hills, AZ 85269
Here is the response letter that both Mr. Monsour and Mr. Corzo sent to Jim Bowers by 5pm on 3/4/2013.
Mr Bowers, Interim VC of HR for MCCCD, demanded that Mr. Corzo and Mr. Monsour turn over “possession of highly sensitive and confidential information and documents proprietary to Maricopa Community College District” & “documents that contain sensitive information about the district’s network”.
Neither Mr. Monsour or Mr. Corzo were in charge of the Network at MCCCD at the time of the 2011 or 2013 incidents. They don’t have any documents containing sensitive information about the district network. These documents reside with the network team at MCCCD and the Director in charge of the network infrastructure. Mr. Monsour has been on medical leave since Fall 2012 and Mr. Corzo has never been in charge of the MCCCD network. These letter is retaliatory in nature and another attempt at intimidating employees. This is one of the reasons why ITS has lost nearly 50% of their staff since 2011.
Mr. James Bowers
Interim Vice Chancellor Human Resources
Maricopa County Community College District
This letter responds to your February 28, 2014, letter demanding that I turn over “possession of highly sensitive and confidential information and documents proprietary to Maricopa Community College District.” Without more specificity as to the documents you seek, I am unable to provide you with any documents.
Here is another link to an article publish by the Arizona Daily Independent on MCCCD policies “MCCCD policies ignored by Glasper” that were not properly addressed by the organization.
This article focuses on a grievance filed buy (6) IT employees in 2012 and the lack of response from the Maricopa Community College District administration. The grievance is an official MCCCD document filed by the Presidents of two employee groups at MCCCD on behalf of the IT staff. A prompt response to this grievance by the Administration could have prevented this incident, according to the article.
Are people asking the right questions regarding this incident? Does it make sense for MCCCD to risk its reputation over a security incident like this? Who is running the organization?
Here is a link to a new article by Mary Beth Faller in the AZ Republic regarding the MCCCD computer breach.
Just a few months after the breach, legal costs are beginning to skyrocket.
IT costs are also beginning to escalate as projects previously approved by the Board now need resources for implementation.
ITS is asking the Governing Board for additional funding to hire new IT staff. It is unclear what happened to the ‘permanent dollars’ ITS had from the 40+ individuals who left the organization in the midst of the turmoil. Salary savings might have been used to hire consultants.
The picture below illustrates the main elements that ultimately led to the 4th largest security breach in the US in 2013 according to Identity Theft Resource Center.
Two main elements combined in 2011-2013 to create the perfect storm for the Maricopa Community College IT Department:
- MCCCD management ignored employee warnings as reported by the press.
- Hostile environment and fear in the workplace drove IT employees out.
These two elements created the perfect storm for MCCCD IT. Now, MCCCD is seeking to raise tuition and the tax levy to rehire and retrain employees. These funds will also be used to pay for expenses associated with the security breach.
The IT department at MCCCD lost its core IT staff in 2011-2013. It was deprived of institutional knowledge to support technology. Attempts to replace the staff with consultants failed and now they must rehire and retrain.
Check out this new article posted by the Arizona Daily Independent.
It contains footage of the 2/25/14 Governing Board Meeting where citizens called for the Chancellor to be fired.
MCCCD Board called on to fire Chancellor