Port of Seattle can't find data on 7,000 workers

The Port of Seattle said Monday that personal data on nearly 7,000 current and former employees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is missing.

The data could be useful to an identity thief because it may include addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and other information.

Not all people who work for employers at Sea-Tac are affected.

The Port said the data is on six CDs among 59 it has used from 2001 to early 2006 to back up personal information collected from employees of airlines, concession operators, the Port and other employers at Sea-Tac.

The information is used to prepare identification badges.

The Port said it was able to identify all the people affected by checking backup copies kept in a safe, and is contacting those people by letter.

Mark Reis, managing director of Sea-Tac, said the missing data could not be used to penetrate airport security, because it doesn't include the photographs, fingerprints or PIN numbers associated with security badges.

Reis said he has no reason to believe the discs were stolen, and that they could be misplaced at the office.

Two other missing discs were found Sunday stuck in an intra-office mail envelope, he said.

The Port has been investigating since Sept. 18; because the search so far has been unsuccessful, it notified employees, he said.

The data is collected on all airport employees for identification purposes, then compiled again every three years.

Reis said he was among the 6,939 employees whose personal data was misplaced.

The Port is encouraging those people to monitor their credit-card statements for suspicious charges.

It has posted more information on its Web site, www.portseattle.org and set up a hotline at 888-902-PORT where individuals can check if their information was on the missing disks.

The Port is in the midst of installing a new information-backup system that will not use computer discs, Reis said.

Luke Timmerman: 206-515-5644 or ltimmerman@seattletimes.com