- A New York-based IT contractor outsourced government work to India, a move that violated state security rules, according to New York investigators.
- Focused Technologies Imaging Services, which had a $3.45 million contract to scan and index 22 million fingerprint cards from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, hired an India-based company to perform significant portion of the work, according to state officials and reported by Computerworld.
- The company was fined $3 million for the infringement and was required to hire an independent monitor approved by the attorney general's office. However, Focused Technologies will still be allowed to remain as part of the state preferred source program.
The debate over IT outsourcing periodically flares up, especially surrounding the topic of H1-B visas. IT outsourcing is big business, as companies delegate work offshore to supplement the workload. But organizations have to follow contract guidelines when working on projects, particularly with sensitive material.
Focused Technologies employees were required to pass background checks to work on the project and all work was required to take place in a secure state facility. Employees were also prevented from taking their cell phones into the area where the work was performed.
The contractor "circumvented virtually all contract provisions governing the handling of sensitive records to which they were entrusted," New York state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said in a statement.
The fingerprint cards—which were correlated to arrests or job applications requiring a criminal history background check—contained information such as signatures, Social Security numbers, physical descriptors and birth dates.
The Indian company, which was not identified, performed almost 40% of the work and was paid $82,000, according to the report.
The Indian firm reportedly had no knowledge of the outsourcing restrictions.
The computers used for the project were not connected to the Internet, but an investigation revealed that contractor employees would copy images onto portable hard drives and carry the drives to their offices where the data was transmitted to India.