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583,000 Canadian student loan records exposed

Mar 25, 2014 // Dan Yelin

The interim privacy commissioner of Canada, Chantal Bernier, released information regarding an incident where a portable hard drive containing over half a million Canadian student’s loan records went missing.

Bernier noted the hard drive was left unsecured for extended periods of time and was not protected with a password or any type of encryption. Furthermore, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada acknowledged last year the drive held data on 583,000 Canadian Student Loans Program borrowers from 2000 to 2006.

This poor implementation of security at the Canadian government level has even led to the victims banding together and fighting back as they do not believe the government is providing adequate credit protection.

Brenier’s report, tabled in Parliament, says a gap between policies and practices at the department – now known as Employment and Social Development Canada – led to weaknesses in information management, physical security controls and employee awareness.