#CyberFLASH: Federal government privacy breaches soar to record high

0925 DND payments

The federal government reported breaching the privacy of individuals more than 5,000 times last year — an all-time high, according to new figures.

The data are only for six departments, so the 5,237 privacy breaches they reported in 2014 are likely just a glimpse at what happened across government. Even so, the figure is almost as many as had been reported in the previous 11-year period, including instances where a taxpayer’s or organization’s information was incorrectly released, lost or compromised.

Figures provided to Parliament last year showed federal departments and agencies reported 3,763 breaches of data between April 1, 2013 and Jan. 29, 2014. During the previous 10-year period, the government reported slightly more than 3,000 breaches.

Those numbers, however, didn’t include the Department of National Defence, which had said it couldn’t release the information for national security reasons. The current crop of figures is the first time DND has publicly reported the number of privacy breaches within its department, giving Canadians a more fulsome picture of how their government handles sensitive information.

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