May 14th, 2013

Conservatives must answer for data breaches

New Democrats are calling on the Conservatives to finally take the privacy of Canadians seriously and investigate the decade long data breaches from government departments.

“It’s been weeks since the Conservatives admitted that the federal government dropped the ball and allowed the release of private information for millions of Canadians – yet many questions still remain about how this happened,” said Privacy and Ethics critic Charlie Angus (Timmins – James Bay). “The Conservatives owe an explanation to Canadians and have an obligation to ensure that proper rules are put in place to protect the personal information of individuals.”

Last month, in a written response to Angus, the government admitted to more than a million breaches of personal data over the past decade, with little or no action being taken nor follow up done with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. It remains unclear exactly how many Canadians were affected, nor is it known if any of the breached data was used for identity theft—a matter the NDP wants brought to Committee.

“As the Ethics and Privacy Committee will be studying identity theft in a couple of weeks, it just makes sense to add a meeting or two and get to the bottom on this breach,” said Digital Affairs critic Charmaine Borg (Terrebonne – Blainville). “This isn’t about blame. This problem has existed for over a decade with little action being taken. We need to ensure that Canadians understand what the problem is and whether the measures taken will be effective in solving this massive problem.”

The NDP plans to present their motion next week, with the study into identity theft starting in a few weeks.