#CyberFLASH: Canadian Telecoms Gave Environment Canada Hundreds Of Subscribers’ Information

image-1OTTAWA – Newly disclosed records show Environment Canada obtained information from telecommunications companies about hundreds of subscribers in the last five years.

Employment and Social Development Canada, the Competition Bureau, Justice Canada, the military police and the Transportation Safety Board also say they request subscriber details in the course of their work.

A legislative move by the federal government to make it easier for authorities to find out more about Internet users has heightened concerns about online privacy.

Numbers tabled in Parliament indicate Environment Canada obtained information on 750 subscribers from Jan. 1, 2010, through May 22 of this year.

Environment says the requests — aimed at helping enforcement officers investigate environmental and wildlife crime — were often for the name of a subscriber associated with a particular telephone number.

The Competition Bureau obtained information on 124 subscribers during the same period, while the Justice Department’s international assistance group — which helps foreign states — made approximately 270 requests.

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#CyberTRAX: Personal data lost by two federal departments at same time

 

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In the fall of 2012, a worker at Environment Canada lost a laptop containing the personal information of 13 people whom the department was set to hire.

It was an embarrassing enough situation for the department, but doubly troublesome for two of the victims: Internal documents show that those two people also had their personal information lost at the same time in a higher-profile data breach that took place at Employment and Social Development Canada.

In that ESDC breach, the department lost a small portable hard drive containing the personal information of about 583,00 Canada Student Loan recipients – a loss that is still the subject of a class-action lawsuit – and about 250 departmental employees. The drive was noticed missing on Nov. 5, 2012, but had last been seen in late August of that year.

The drive wasn’t password-protected or encrypted, which is a violation of government policy.

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Environment Canada cracks down on viewing ‘provocative attire’ websites

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OTTAWA — Environment Canada workers thinking about visiting Maxim magazine online should probably think twice — because being caught going to such “provocative attire (see below picture)” sites three times could land them in trouble.

New, strict web usage policies, approved by senior department officials over the summer, coincided with a tightening of security access regulations for outside scientists wanting to log on to the department’s network. It also came as Environment Canada tightened rules about how employees travelling overseas could connect to the Internet and network back home — all in the hopes of closing loopholes in its IT security strategy.

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