Computer tech accidentally wipes out Alaska oil fund data

Juneau (AK) - Alaska is calling a routine maintenance check gone wrong "the worst-case scenario", after a technician accidentally wiped out a series of crucial government data. Two sets of back-up data were also corrupted, and Microsoft consultants were unable to retrieve the data.

It was a normal maintenance check for a computer tech at the Alaska Department of Revenue until he mistakenly wiped out application information for a $38 billion oil account, and then accidentally reformatted the backup drive. To add insult to injury, the backup tapes also ended up unreadable.

The state consulted with Microsoft to try to retrieve the data, but it proved to be an impossible goal. Alaska says the mistake will cost up to $200,000, including over-time pay and additional employees to help re-enter the data.

Alaska pays every resident a nominal annual dividend check from all the oil revenue that it earns. That means all 600,000 registered Alaska residents wwere affected by the accident. The checks may be cut back to help pay for resolving the tech's mistake.

Alaska's Revenue Commissioner at the time, Bill Corbus, said no one was blamed for the incident.