The U-S Agriculture Department has assured U-S Senator Elizabeth Dole that data on about 80-thousand North Carolina tobacco buyout participants has either been returned to the Farm Service Agency or destroyed. The data contained the tax identification and Social Security
numbers of the buyout participants. The Agriculture Department last month said it had inadvertently released the data about 350-thousand tobacco buyout participants in response to Freedom of Information Act requests about the tobacco buyout program. The information went to eight different people or groups. Dole says U-S-D-A Under Secretary J-B Penn has informed her that the F-S-A has implemented a more stringent policy to ensure the protection of personal information in the future.