Stats Canada is taking some heat from the Toronto Sun today. “Internal reports obtained through Access to Information reveal a number of incidents in the past five years where the federal information-gathering agency has probed and quietly done damage control on security lapses.”
- OCT. 2010: Purolator envelope containing 11 unencrypted, non-password-protected CDs for the Vital Statistics Program in Alberta addressed to Ottawa head office sent July 9, 2010 is discovered missing. It contains more than 21,000 electronic images of confidential information about individual birth, death, stillbirth and marriage registrations. It is found Nov. 30, 2010 locked in a rarely-used filing cabinet.
- SEPT. 2009: Stats Can library’s password access protocol constitutes “major security breach.”
- DEC. 2008: A briefcase with documents and personal notes is stolen from the car of an interviewer from Quebec. Confidential addresses of respondents were included.
- JULY 2008: An error in transmission meant e-mails of 108 subscribers of Health Reports notifications were “inadvertently revealed” to all recipients of message – constituting a breach of Privacy Act and Stats Can policy.
- JUNE 2008: Stats Can is informed that on Feb. 12, 2008 Surrey RCMP and Canada Post recovered completed 2006 census questionnaires from a private residence in a bust of a major identity theft ring. Other items included equipment related to credit card/ID theft, drivers’ licences, 3,000 pieces of stolen mail, government-issued cheques, fake currency and more than 100 CDs with thousands of personal data profiles. Census questionnaires were not in the hands of census staff – it is believed they were obtained by tipping mailboxes or break-ins to homes and cars.
- AUG. 2007: A laptop containing personal information about individuals who participated in the Labour Force Survey or Canadian Community Health Survey is stolen from the residence of an employee in Abbotsford, BC. Password was written on a sticky note stored in laptop case. Police called, affected people are informed and interviewer receives verbal reprimand.
- JUNE 2007: Laptop with three completed household spending surveys stolen in home break-in in Delta, B.C.
- MARCH 2007: Edmonton regional office reports two laptop thefts from field interviewers’ vehicles. Staff are reminded about protocol for securing material.
- MARCH 2007: Privacy Commissioner’s office advised of inadvertent disclosure and loss of personal info after surplus filing cabinets with Records of Employment about 66 2006 census workers were sold at a Crown Assets Auction in Edmonton. Affected individuals are contacted and Stats Can implements more stringent procedures to avoid a recurrence.
- JULY 2006: Enumerator leaves completed questionnaire instead of blank at Scarborough, Ont. respondent’s home.
- APRIL 2005: Blank forms faxed to a business include additional pages of confidential information related to two other businesses. Staff receive retraining and posters/notices are displayed as reminders.
- FEB. 2005: Marketing information collected for one user is reviewed by another user and possibly four other unknown individuals in a Corporations Returns Act survey.
- FEB. 2005: Laptop being shipped from Williams Lake, B.C. to Edmonton containing 23 Survey of Household Spending cases – including 11 completed ones – goes missing. A flurry of e-mails ensues among senior managers at Stats Can and officials “pester” Canada Post to find the lost item. Confidential statistical info is encrypted. Laptop is found two weeks later.