500,000 people who have taken out a student loan lose personal data

30 July 2013 - Which Way To Pay

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Personal information lost for over half a million student loan borrowers

OTTAWA – A federal agency has lost a portable hard drive which contains personal information about more than half a million people who have taken out a student loan. Last week, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada said the device contained data on 583,000 Canada Student Loans Program borrowers from 2000 – 2006. Information that has gone missing includes student names, social insurance numbers, dates of birth, contact information and loan balances of borrowers. In addition to this the missing files includes personal information of 250 department employees.

Diane Finley expresses disappointment in student loan disaster

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said she has called on the RCMP to assist with the incident, “given its serious nature.” “I want all Canadians to know that I have expressed my disappointment to departmental officials at this unacceptable and avoidable incident in handling Canadians' personal information,” she said in a statement.

Unlikely that student loan personal information is used fraudulently

Human Resources sat that there is currently no evidence to suggest the information in the latest breach has been used for fraudulent purposes, the search continues to find the hard drive. Finley said in her statement, she has directed officials to take immediate action to ensure “that such an unnecessary situation” does not happen again and that they participate in mandatory training on a new security policy. This new policy will ban portable hard drives within the department. In addition, unapproved USB keys are not to be connected to the computer network. Finally, staff will be subjected to disciplinary actions, including possible dismissal should privacy and security codes not be followed.

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