Breach, Privacy

Personal data of 2.4 million Ontario voters at risk

July 18, 2012

Two USB drives holding personal information of 2.4 million voters living in electoral districts in the Waterloo region in Southern Ontario, Canada, were reported missing for the past three months by Elections Ontario, a non-partisan agency that oversees general elections in Ontario.

How many victims? As many as 2.4 million.

What type of personal information? Names, genders, voting histories and addresses

What happened? Although the two drives were required to be encrypted and password-protected, they were left unsecured overnight in an annex office and went missing. The data is readable by specialized commercial software, as well as the agency's proprietary software. Officials learned of the breach April 27.

What was the response? Police and the province's privacy commissioner are investigating. Affected individuals are being advised to monitor their accounts.

Quote: "I did not want to make an irresponsible public notification or worry Ontarians needlessly," said Greg Essensa, chief electoral officer at Elections Ontario, on why his agency waited roughly three months before notifying the public.

Source: TheRecord.com, Waterloo Region voters warned of massive privacy breach, July 18, 2012; TheStar.com, Elections Ontario: Personal data for millions of voters missing, July 17, 2012


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