Canadian government gets serious about storage devices

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Can you put a price on lost data? For the government of Canada, the cost of potentially exposing the personal information of about 588,000 student loan and disability payment recipients begins at $270,000.

That's the amount the department of human resources and skills development paid to replace 2,338 encrypted USB keys and 40 encrypted portable hard drives, as it revealed in documents tabled in Parliament.

Following the loss of one personal hard drive and a USB key holding personal data, the department decided to destroy all existing storage data and replace it with encrypted data. In its filing, the government admitted “there is no estimate of how many [USB keys and hard drives] were in active use.”

In addition to replacing the storage media, the government has discussed the possibility of covering additional costs associated with credit monitoring for the 583,058 student loan recipients whose personal information was exposed.


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