Canada student loan record breach affects 583k

Share this article:

A federal agency in Canada lost an unencrypted external hard drive containing the personal information of half a million student loan recipients.

How many victims? 583,000.

What type of personal information? Names, social insurance numbers, dates of birth, loan balances and contact information of borrowers from 2000 to 2006.

What happened? On Nov. 5, an employee of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada discovered the hard drive was missing from an office in Gatineau, Quebec.

What was the response? Two months after the discovery, an internal investigation began. The public was first notified of the incident last Friday. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was called in to investigate what could be deemed as “one of the largest privacy lapses in Canadian history,” The Vancouver Sun reported.

The federal government will contact all affected individuals, and a toll-free number was set up Monday for those with questions. 

Details: The human resources agency discovered the breach while it was in the midst of another investigation – on the loss of a USB key containing the data of more than 5,000 Canadians.

Quote: “I have expressed my disappointment to departmental officials at this unacceptable and avoidable incident in handling Canadians' personal information,” Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said. “As a result, I have directed that departmental officials take a number of immediate actions to ensure that such an unnecessary situation does not happen again.”

Source: www.vancouversun.com, The Vancouver Sun, “Federal government loses hard drive with information on more than half a million people,” Jan. 11, 2013.
Share this article:

Sign up to our newsletters

POLL

More in The Data Breach Blog

Programming error results in CVS Caremark mailing blunder

About 350 CVS Caremark customers are being notified that a programming error resulted in mailers containing their personal information being sent to the wrong customers.

Seattle University donor checks possibly exposed due to settings error

Seattle University is notifying an undisclosed number of donors that anyone with a Seattle University computer account could have viewed scanned checks.

Laptop stolen from Self Regional Healthcare contained patient data

As least 500 patients of Self Regional Healthcare have been notified that their personal information was on a laptop stolen from a Self Regional facility.