After an investigation into a stolen laptop from Alberta Capital Health, Frank Work has expressed some exasperation about how personal information is being protected:
The Edmonton Journal
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Crafting sophisticated privacy legislation has never been more important, as lawmakers struggle to keep up with technological advances. And yet all the statutes in the world are no excuse for common sense.
"It's just nuts that we're not looking after this stuff better," exclaimed an exasperated Frank Work on Tuesday. Work, Alberta's information and privacy commissioner, had just released a report investigating the May theft of four laptop computers at a Capital Health office.
The study concluded that Capital Health had contravened the Health Information Act by not taking adequate security precautions. This was in spite of two previous warnings about the need for encryption programs. Capital Health has promised that it will have encryption for laptops installed by January and will soon provide the commissioner with a detailed implementation plan for other changes. Let's hope so.
Not that Capital Heath is alone. Work also announced another investigation into the theft of a memory stick storing personal details of 560 students attending Edmonton Catholic Schools. An employee of the board's school bus company kept the stick in her purse. The school board now insists bus carriers' memory sticks must be encrypted.
The hope is that other organizations are paying attention. Breaches in consumer information security have made all of us think twice when ordering online or even at the local cash register.
To be fair, a lot of bright people are working on this and lessons have been learned. Still, coming to terms with the storehouse of private information most of us carry around daily in various devices is everyone's business. As technology moves forward, we must remember that privacy is too precious to be taken lightly. That begins at home, at work and at school.