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EARLIER DATA BREACH ADMITTED

A LexisNexis executive said Wednesday there may have been an earlier breach of consumers' personal data that was never reported to the public.

The disclosure at a Senate hearing came a day after London-based Reed Elsevier, which owns LexisNexis, revealed that criminals may have breached computer files containing the personal information of 310,000 people since January 2003.

"I believe there may have been a security breach in LexisNexis prior to 2003 that involved personal data and we did not make notice," said Kurt Sanford, LexisNexis' president and chief executive for U.S. corporate and federal markets, offering no details.

LexisNexis spokesman Sean C. McCabe said later that Sanford was referring to more than one past breach, but he could provide no information about how many there were, when they took place or how serious they were.