Security breaches in the thousands

News 22 March, 2018
  • Guillaume St-Pierre

    Thursday, 22 march, 2018 01:00

    Thursday, 22 march, 2018 01:00

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    The personal information of hundreds of thousands of Canadians held by Ottawa could be found in the wrong hands last year because of the negligence of the federal government. A situation that shocked many.

    “I am extremely disturbed by the number of breaches in the private lives of Canadians to the federal government,” said new democrat member of parliament ontario’s Charlie Angus. And I’m just as shocked by his tendency to hide these gaps. “

    Documents obtained by Mr. Angus and consulted by The Newspaper show that the federal sentence to keep away from the prying eyes of personal information of citizens. In total, approximately 250,000 Canadians have been the victims of these faults from January 2017.

    The revenue Agency, for example, has lost track of the confidential information of more than 21 000 taxpayers. Canada post has misplaced more than 400 passports.

    Ironically, even the agency’s electronic spying canada is not immune to security incidents. A breach has been opened when an employee of the Center of the security establishment has stolen equipment belonging to his employer.

    In other cases, the problems are less serious, such as sending large numbers of emails in which the name and address of the recipients were not hidden to the recipients.

    The department of Veterans affairs, the majority of privacy breaches are due to mail that was sent to the wrong person.

    “Incompetence” and ” negligence “

    According to a professor of criminology at the Université Laval, the data security is simply not a priority for most governments. This is in addition to “incompetence” and “negligence” of government officials.

    “It is worrying, slice Stéphane Leman-Langlois. The government will have to make superhuman efforts to improve security so that our personal data leaks increasingly on the internet “, he adds, citing the scandal involving Facebook, which currently rages.

    The Office of the protection of the private life argues that the ways in which the federal are ” not always adequate “.

    “In recent years, the Office has been witness to many cases of privacy violations important,” according to his spokesperson, Tobi Cohen.

    The watchdog also believes that there was not “a comprehensive picture of the situation” because the departments tend to keep to themselves some of their conduct.

    “We suspect that we are not notified of all violations should be brought to our attention. “

    Not often denounced

    The mp for Angus is also shocked to see that very few breaches are reported to the dog to guard the privacy of Canadians. According to his calculations, only 4% of incidents can be found on the office of the Commissioner.

    It requires departments to tell him the flaws ” substantial “, that is, those which “may cause injury or serious harm” to affected individuals.

    All federal agencies have assured to take very seriously the protection of information. To this day, Ottawa considers that no breach has not served in criminal activities.



    Photo By Christopher Nardi

    • The federal government has lost in the last year no less than 427 passports because they have been misplaced by Canada Post. “It is worrying because a passport can be used for identity theft,” says the lawyer and lecturer at McGill Allen Mendelsohn.
    • “Employment and social development Canada takes the protection of personal information of Canadians very seriously. In all, 4.8 million passports have been issued “, defends the department responsible for issuing this document is packed full of sensitive information.



    Photo from the archives, Christopher Nardi

    • The canadian tax authorities, which holds a ton of information on taxpayers, squandered the last year of the information more or less sensitive to almost 35,000 taxpayers in the wake of 3400 incidents.
    • Of this total, 24 breaches affecting more than 21 000 Canadians were serious enough that the government has asked the privacy Commissioner to investigate, because it was feared that there would be “serious damage” to the victims.



    Archival Photo, QMI Agency

    • It is at VIA Rail, the most important fault is occurred in 2017. In a single incident on 12 July, the personal information of more than 128, 000 clients have been widely disseminated on the internet due to “insufficient safety measures” in one of their service providers. The customers of VIA Rail have only been notified two months later that their e-mail address, name, postal code and travel details had leaked.
    • The rail carrier is said to have quickly settled the problem of the origin of the breach. Still, he thought it best to launch an independent investigation ” in order to better understand the circumstances and the severity of the incident “.


    • Total number of breaches : 6000
    • Total number of persons affected : 250 000
    • Number of breaches which were the subject of an investigation by the privacy Commissioner : 250

    Source : Government of Canada