Watchdog finds that 9 federal divisions have suffered privacy breaches

by Andrew Roach on June 26, 2013

With online privacy now firmly being focused on by the government, it would be safe to assume that their own departments would have adequate levels of protection for their own data.

However, a report published by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has revealed that 9 federal divisions have suffered data breaches over the last decade.

Over this period, it’s been estimated that there have been over 3,000 separate incidents which has affected around 725,000 people.

Some of the departments that have been affected include Passport Canada, RCMP, Immigration and Citizenship and Public Safety.

One of the main issues that affected the federal departments has been a lack of awareness and protocol in place to report and handle any potential breaches.

Two divisions – Fisheries and Oceans and Public Safety – were found to be most at risk with their set-up being described as poor by the report.

The Department of Public Safety particularly stood out as it was found that 28 data breaches had been left unreported since 2009.

Meanwhile, other departments had issues securing and locating the sites where possible breaches may have occurred with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Passport Canada particularly at fault with 161 and 131 breaches respectively over the past 2 years.

In a bid to try and boost the security measures across the government, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart met with Treasury Board President Tony Clement to address some of the breaches found in the report.

During an interview with CBC, Stoddart also revealed that their meeting marked a positive step in the road to improving data security. This was underlined in her comments where she remarked that “Minister Clement seemed very concerned about the question of data and very interested in ways of strengthening data breach awareness, I’d say, and proactive work to minimize data breaches.”

With the findings being reported and fed back to the government, it will now be up to ministers to decide how they go about plugging the breaches across the many divisions which have struggled over the last 10 years.

But they will need to make sure that these breaches are plugged once and for all if they are to reassure the public that their valuable information is protected and kept secure from hackers and malicious parties.

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Written by: Andrew Roach Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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