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Patients didn’t consent to UNC study later hacked

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CHAPEL HILL — Patients receiving letters warning their personal information may have been stolen by a hacker have been surprised to learn they were involved in the University of North Carolina medical study.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday that federal guidelines requiring patients to approve the sharing of personal data are often waived for a big medical study.

Many women learned that their radiologists submitted data for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research only when the school sent letters on the computer breach.

University officials say there is no evidence that any data were downloaded. As many as 160,000 patient files may have been exposed, including 114,000 Social Security numbers. The school says it doesn’t know who the hacker is.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Patients receiving letters warning their personal information may have been stolen by a hacker have been surprised to learn they were involved in the University of North Carolina medical study.

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