Statistics Canada loses, mishandles hundreds of sensitive census, employment files

Kathleen Harris reports:

The federal agency in charge of collecting, analyzing and securely storing personal data about Canadians lost hundreds of sensitive files during the 2016 census process.

Incident reports obtained by CBC News through Access to Information detail 20 cases of information and privacy breaches by Statistics Canada, including long and short census surveys, home visit logs and personal employment records.

Some confidential documents were left on a subway or sent to the wrong home. Hundreds more were lost in a stolen car.

Harris reports that The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, “confirmed it has not investigated any complaints related to privacy breaches involving the 2016 census.” In some cases that may be because the citizens were not informed of the breach (disclosure of the breach was intentionally withheld, which is quite concerning in and of itself). But what about other cases?  Did OPC receive complaints but decline to investigate them, or did people not file complaints because the public has become too-resigned to breaches and didn’t evaluate these as high-risk?

Read more on CBC.

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