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Scapegoat: Jared Ilovar

Rice and Strickland squirming.

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'Rice and Strickland are going to be looking for a scapegoat', wrote The Technological on 19 June. 'Jared already knows who that is.'

The prediction of The Technological was spot on: on 25 July The Columbus Dispatch published an open letter sent by Jared Ilovar in which he details the harassment he and his family have undergone and reveals the full extent of the stupidity and evil of the coverup attempts.

Jared Ilovar, a $10.50/hour interim employee, ended every workday by (according to specific instructions from his superiors) taking home sensitive backup data on all 64,467 Ohio state employees to his home in Hilliard outside of Columbus.

Ilovar performed this 'security procedure' on a regular basis, rotating with others. This 'security procedure' has been in regular use for the past five years; similar procedures had been in use for eight years.

Original reports of 64,467 records stolen turn out to be but a sliver of the truth: close to 800,000 records were in Jared's automobile that night. And every night. And before Jared came to the OAKS (Ohio Administrative Knowledge System) project three months earlier it had been done by someone else.

Jared reported to another intern who in turn reported to a consultant paid $125 per hour (yes for dreaming up security schemes like this) who in turn reported to yet another consultant paid $200 per hour. Jared was an intern and paid only $10.50 per hour.

Jared's specific instructions never went further than 'take these tapes home and bring them back tomorrow'. That was it. Jared carried out his instructions to the letter.

Five automobiles were burglarised that fateful night in Hilliard Ohio; when Jared contacted OAKS about the incident he was specifically instructed to not mention the tapes to the police - thus paving the way for Rice and Strickland to make him the scapegoat for their staggering incompetence and opportunism.

According to the office of the Inspector General a total of 1,194,732 'people, employees, dependents, and businesses' were affected by this latest manifestation of what The Technological was founded to wage war against.

Read Jared's own account here.

I would like to respond to the recent articles in various newspapers regarding the data tape theft, data breach, and the decision to terminate my employment as an intern.

I am the intern who was made the scapegoat in the situation surrounding the theft of a data tape. First I would like to clarify any misconception of whether or not my car was locked. My car was locked and it is always locked. My car was broken into and the State Police discovered scratches on the car window indicating that the car had indeed been broken in to. It is my understanding that 5 or more cars were broken in to the same night as my car was broken in to in the parking lot of my Hilliard apartment complex. Once I realized my car had been broken in to and that the tape was missing I did what I thought was best. I went straight to my employer, OAKS, and told them about the theft of the data tape. I was instructed by OAKS to not tell the Hilliard police department there was sensitive data on the tape. I followed OAKS' instructions, as I always had done in the past. I then contacted the Hilliard Police Department about the break-in and theft.

Interesting enough following my employer's instructions has caused me quite a bit of anguish. Because of my following their instruction about not telling the police department about the sensitive data on the tape I was looked upon as if I was the criminal. I was put through a grueling three hour polygraph test, numerous interviews with various investigators, and countless phone calls. For the record I was never involved in the theft of the tape and the investigators came to the same conclusion. I was a victim of a random car theft and now I am the scapegoat for the State of Ohio.

On the subject of instructions, I was NEVER instructed by my employer on how to properly secure, store or watch over the data tapes at night. About two months into my internship a fellow intern instructed me on how to change the daily back-up tapes by putting in a new tapes and taking out the previous nightÕs tapes. The extent of my instructions on what to do after I removed the tapes from the tape drive and took the tapes out of the building was, "bring these back tomorrow." I was the newest person in the door so I inherited the job of taking the data tapes out of the building. That was the extent of my instructions. When I left the OAKS building I was off the clock, remember I was not a salaried network administrator. I was an intern. According to the news media there was a project policy that was last updated in April 2002. I was unaware of this policy until after the fact. It is my understanding that the policy called for the network administrator to take the backup tape to his residence. This theft could have occurred at any time. It is unreasonable to assume that I would never make any stops along the route at night with the back-up tapes in my possession. Should I have left the tapes in my car that night, obviously the answer is no.

The article stated that I had remembered to take the tapes out of the car 85% of the time. Based on this statement Governor Strickland was quoted as saying, "It was not just a one-time mistake." Not just a one-time mistake? I wasn't aware that I was making any mistakes. Given the fact that I took the tapes out of the building every night and brought them back everyday, how was that making a mistake? Remember my instructions from a fellow intern were "bring these (tapes) back tomorrow". Until my car was broken in to I was doing what I was instructed to do. Only AFTER the theft of the tape was I made aware that there was some type of policy regarding these back-up tapes. I have yet to actually read the policy. I have only heard that there was a policy. As an intern, I do not create policy, I do not interpret policy, and I do not question policy. I do what I am instructed to do. Take the tapes out of the building and return them the next day.

For weeks, Governor Ted Strickland vowed not to make me the scapegoat. Indeed, I am the scapegoat.

On Friday, July 20, 2007, I was called in to an office and handed a letter of resignation and told, "sign this letter of resignation or you are fired." This came as quite a shock to me. They put me on the spot. I was allowed to call my parents to ask for their advice. My parents, who were also shocked by this development, instructed me not to sign the resignation at that very moment and to ask my employer for one hour's time so that I could make the decision after discussing my options with my parents. I got off of the phone with my parents and I was denied an hour to make this important decision. After they denied me an hour I asked for 20 minutes. After I was denied 20 minutes I asked for 10 minutes. Again, they refused to give me 10 minutes. Within a few minutes I was strong armed in to signing the letter of resignation. I'd like to mention that the people at the table forcing this letter of resignation on me were two of my superiors, employed by the State of Ohio, and an attorney for the State of Ohio. There I was the college intern under duress being forced to sign away what I felt was an opportunity of a lifetime. Please note that at this point and time I had not totally "refused" to sign the letter of resignation I had simply asked for one hours' time to make the decision. Within 10 minutes or less my parents had called me back instructing me to NOT sign the letter of resignation. I explained to my parents that the State had forced me to sign the letter of resignation on the spot without regard to our request for one hour of time. My parents then instructed me to go reiterate the fact that I had only asked for one hours' time and that they, two adult supervisors and their attorney, had forced me to sign this letter of resignation. After some discussion and conferring between themselves my supervisors and their attorney did allow me to rescind the letter of resignation in writing. So yes, in the end, I refused to resign and my employment was terminated.

As a college student at DeVry University this internship with the State of Ohio was a great opportunity for me. While working at OAKS I was given the opportunity to get hands on experience working in computer networking. After my internship I had hoped to have the opportunity to interview for long-term employment with the State of Ohio. I have learned some valuable lessons throughout this entire experience.

Failure and responsibility starts at the top.

I will always ask for written instructions and/or policy instructions. I will no longer assume I am following the rules and/or policy if I haven't actually been instructed of such rules and/or policy by a supervisor and/or administrator.

I would like to thank OAKS for the opportunity they gave me several months ago and I wish the outcome of all of this was much different than it is.

Governor Strickland said that he had been trying to protect me, the intern, and that he allowed me to remain employed while the investigation continued. For this I want to say "Thank you." Having said thank you, I would like to ask Governor Strickland and/or his administration for an internship. I would ask at the beginning of this internship for any and all rules and policies with regard to job description. I would like to move forward. I have several months before I graduate in March, 2008, and I know I would be an asset to any office. Maybe Governor Strickland's office will give me the opportunity.

See Also
The Technological: Rice & Strickland
Office of the Inspector General: Report of Investigation

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