Union to OPM: Stop keeping us 'in the dark' about data breach

Union to OPM: Stop keeping us 'in the dark' about data breach

The largest federal workers union took out a full-page ad on Thursday to bash the embattled government agency behind the recent data breaches that have exposed millions of people’s information.

“Stop Keeping Employees in the Dark About the Data Breach,” blared the ad, directed at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents over 650,000 workers, has been tussling with the OPM since the agency revealed last month it had discovered two serious digital intrusions. The hacks have put nearly every current and former federal worker’s information at risk.

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Officials have indicated the breach may ultimately encompass well over 18 million people, although a final number has not been given.

Last week, AFGE filed the first lawsuit against the OPM over the breach, alleging negligence and demanding a jury trial for OPM Director Katherine Archuleta.

Now, the union is doubling down with its ad, which ran in Politico.

The ad exhorts the OPM to reveal the full scope of the data breach, provide affected individuals with free lifetime credit monitoring services and insure federal workers for all financial losses that may occur as a result of the breach.  

Another union, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) filed a second lawsuit against OPM on Wednesday, listing those same demands.

Currently, the OPM has offered to cover 18 months of credit monitoring and insure employees for up to $1 million to cover for damages from identity fraud.

Unions allege the OPM has provided little help in accessing these offers and kept victims in the dark about exactly what harm they may face.

Some of the confusion may result from questions over who is behind the cyberattacks.

Government officials have called China the “leading suspect” in the attack. Experts believe it’s part of a Chinese digital espionage scheme to collect a comprehensive database on U.S. government workers.

If so, it’s unlikely the stolen data will be sold on the black market.