CD_blank.jpg(CNet) A CD containing personal information on Georgia residents has gone missing, according to the Georgia Department of Community Health. Data on the CD includes addresses, birthdates, full names and Social Security numbers of people who were enrolled in Medicaid or PeachCare, a state health insurance program for children, according to a notice posted Monday on the department’s Web site (PDF).

Mystech: The cost of encrypting your data when handing it off to a vendor? Free. The potential cost to Georgia and Georgians through identity theft if such data falls into the wrong hands? Oh… Priceless. No excuses to the GDCH or AFS. :-(

The CD was lost by Affiliated Computer Services, a Dallas company handling claims for the health care programs, the statement said. The disc holds information on 2.9 million Georgia residents, according to media reports.

In response to the loss, the Georgia Department of Community Health has asked ACS to notify all affected members in writing and supply them with information on credit watch monitoring as well as tips on how to obtain a free credit report, it said.

There has been a string of data breaches in recent years, many of which were reported publicly because of new disclosure laws. About 40,000 Chicago Public Schools employees are at risk of identity fraud after two laptops containing their personal information were stolen Friday.

Last week, the University of California at San Francisco said a possible computer security breach may have exposed records of 46,000 campus and medical center faculty, staff and students.

Since early 2005, more than 150 million personal records have been exposed in dozens of incidents, according to information compiled by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Identity fraud continues to top the complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Such complaints, which include credit card fraud, bank fraud, as well as phone and utilities fraud, accounted for 36 percent of the total 674,354 complaints submitted to the FTC and its external data contributors in 2006.