When important documents are lost, they can affect any number of people in different ways. For example, if a historical document with no copies is misplaced, researchers in the future will not be able to benefit from the information on the paper, or if court files are lost, criminals could theoretically go free due to lack of evidence.
In Hawaii, 75 citizens now face an uncertain financial situation after employees at the state's Department of Taxation lost a number of tax forms on October 4. A courier bag disappeared from a vehicle commissioned by the Security Courier Service, which is contracted to collect and distribute files for the agency.
"The department is very concerned about this, and obviously we're evaluating the process and all of the movement of the documents from the district offices to the Oahu office," department spokeswoman Mallory Fujitani told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Records mailed or dropped off from September 24 to October 4 at the group's Kona and Hilo branches may have been affected, including tax returns, payment vouchers, checks and business license applications.
Had new technology like electronic document management services been used, however, this may have been avoided. Employees could have digitized the documents and hosted them online, allowing authorities to view them remotely.
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