There is no doubt that the U.S. Department of Defense knows a lot about the value of securing sensitive information and how to do so properly. There is no doubt that Defense encrypts a ton of sensitive information.

So, how could Defense not make absolutely certain that TRICARE, the insurer for the military health system, was encrypting Social Security numbers and other protected health information on millions and millions of people? Answer: It wasn't a priority for Defense or TRICARE. A month ago, TRICARE announced that subcontractor Science Applications International Corp. reported the theft of unencrypted backup tapes on 4.9 million military health system members, and that just would not have happened if optimal security for PHI had been a priority.

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