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A computer tech working at the Alaska Department Of Revenue made a boo-boo. How big a mistake? How about erasing applicant information for an oil revenue fund with 38 billion dollars in it. For an encore, he reformatted the back-up drive, too.
Nine months worth of applicant information for the yearly payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund was gone: some 800,000 electronic images that had been painstakingly scanned into the system months earlier, the 2006 paper applications that people had either mailed in or filed over the counter, and supporting documentation such as birth certificates and proof of residence.
And the only backup was the paperwork itself - stored in more than 300 cardboard boxes.