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



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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#CyberFLASH: Lost hard drive with student loan data lacked password protection


A portable computer hard drive containing the personal information of more than 500,000 student loan recipients was left unsecured for extended periods of time by government employees and was not protected by a password or encryption, Canada’s top privacy watchdog says.

In a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, interim federal privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier detailed the various security procedures Employment and Social Development Canada failed to follow when dealing with the confidential information — failures she said should serve as a lesson for every public sector department and agency.

The report says the ESDC hard drive went missing in 2012. It contained the personal information — including social insurance number, name, date of birth, home address, telephone number, loan amounts and balances — of 583,000 Canada Student Loans Program borrowers from 2000 to 2006. 

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