Agencies will contact those affected to help them lessen potential damage
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/21/2013 -- A portable hard drive that contains personal information of over a half-million individuals who have taken out student loans has been lost by a federal agency. The misplacing or theft of the hard drive has prompted investigations by the RCMP and the national privacy watchdog.
The Human Resources and Skills Development Canada stated on Friday that the device that contained the data of over 583,000 Canadian students who took out loans under the Canada Student Loans Program from 2000 to 2006.
The missing files include the names, social insurance numbers, dates of birth, and various contact information, as well as loan balances of borrowers. The information also contained nearly 250 department employees personal contact information.
Borrowers of Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are currently not to be affect by this unfortunate event. No banking or medical information was on the device according to the those in the know.
Human Resources Minister Dian Finely has stated that a call for assistance of the RCMP, “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.”
She continued, “In addition, the office of the federal privacy commissioner announced Friday it would investigate.
It is too early to gauge the magnitude of the lapse, said Scott Hutchinson, a spokesman for the privacy czar. "Given the numbers the department has shared, it looks, at the outset, to be pretty big."
All those who are expected to be affected by the loss of the hard drive will be contacted. They will be advised on how to protect themselves and their information.
A toll-free number has been set up at 1-866-885-1866 (or 1-416-572-1113 for those outside North America) to help people determine whether they are affected. It will begin taking calls Monday morning.
"It's definitely unfortunate," said Adam Awad, national chairman of the Canadian Federation of Students, which received a briefing on the loss.
"It highlights how easy it is for information in today's age to be misplaced, to be misappropriated, to be stolen -- if that's what the case was."
About Platinum Data Recovery
Platinum Data Recovery (http://www.platinumdatarecovery.org/) provides information on how the company can help one ensure their important information and data is backed up and secure. Make sure to never have to worry about data being lost or compromised again, and let PlatinumDataRecover.com help.
Copyright © 2005-2013 - SBWire, The Small Business Newswire - All Rights Reserved - Important Disclaimer
Contact Us: 888-4-SBWIRE (US) - 920-321-1250 (International)