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Obamacare navigator can email your confidential information to his home computer

By   /   December 19, 2013  /   No Comments

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Suppose an Obamacare navigator in Tennessee gathered all your confidential information and emailed it to his or her home computer — and then claimed he did it only because he wanted to work from home.

Would you go along with that story?

Conceivably, that Obamacare navigator could have used that information for any number of criminal activities, including selling your Social Security information to others.

While there are no known instances of it happening thus far, the scenario isn’t as far-fetched as you might think — considering what happened in Nashville this week.

A former Tennessee Department of Treasury employee allegedly sent an email to his home computer containing the private information of 6,300 active Metro Nashville teachers, state officials said.

Steven Hunter emailed the information to a computer that was unencrypted, said Treasury spokesman Blake Fontenay.

CHECKING IN: Could an Obamacare navigator email your confidential information to his home computer?

“All indications are that he sent the information to his personal email to work on a computer at home,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm told Tennessee Watchdog on Wednesday.

“From the forensic analysis of that computer by TBI agents, the information does not appear to have been disseminated. At this time, the TBI’s investigation is still open and will be turned over to the District Attorney General for review when completed to determine how to proceed.”

State officials explicitly trained Hunter not to do that, Fontenay said.

The Treasury first employed Hunter in July, but he resigned last week, Fontenay said.

“Mr. Hunter’s background check came back clean,” Fontenay said.

In an email, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Fabien Levy would not say whether the federal government requires a criminal background check of Obamacare navigators.

“All navigators must complete a minimum of 20 hours of training and comply with privacy and security standards,” Levy said.

“We take any alleged impropriety seriously and take immediate action in cases where navigators have failed to live up to their responsibilities.”

According to DHS guidelines, states are permitted to adopt state-specific standards for navigators.

Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance registers navigators and certified application counselors and conducts background checks, said TDCI spokeswoman Kate Abernathy.

Seedco spokesman Brian Robinson said in an email his organization performs background checks on its navigators.

Chris Butler photo

SEEDCO: Seedco Mid-South Senior Vice President Lisa Pote introduces U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at an event to promote Obamacare in Memphis last month.

As Tennessee Watchdog has previously reported, the federal government awarded Seedco a $1.2 million contract to sign people up for Obamacare in the state.

Certain Memphis residents participating in Temporary Assistance For Needy Families falsified paperwork and wrongly received almost $30,000 in taxpayer money through a Seedco subcontractor.

According to the New York Post, the federal government sued Seedco for faking at least 1,400 of 6,500 job placements under a $22.2 million federally funded contract with New York City.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org. or follow him and submit story ideas on his official Facebook page.

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Chris Butler is Watchdog.org's Tennessee reporter. Chris has awards from the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press as well as the Louisiana Press Association. The Drudge Report, FOX News, and Rush Limbaugh have featured or cited his articles. Chris earned a bachelor's degree from Louisiana Tech University and a master's degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Click the icons below to follow Chris on Facebook and Twitter.

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