HRSDC has decided to do the right thing -- which it should have done one day one: provide credit protection services to the more than half a million individuals affected by the HRSDC missing hard drive fiasco. The department's release only refers to this breach, which leaves me wondering why they are not providing the same protection to people whose information was compromised with the missing USB thumb drive full of equally sensitive information.
I expect this really takes the wind out of the sails of the many class actions against the government.
Canada News Centre - Department to provide credit protection for clients with information on missing hard drive
Ottawa, Ontario, January 25, 2013 — The Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSDC) is responding to the concerns of Canadians and providing credit protection at no cost to Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) clients whose personal information was contained in a missing hard drive.
In addition to the strong measures that the Minister recently directed the Department to implement, the Department has contracted with Equifax, a credit bureau, to provide the affected clients with credit and identity protection services for a period of up to six years.
“While there is no evidence that information has been fraudulently accessed or used, I want to reassure Canadians that we are serious about protecting their personal information,” said Minister Finley. “That is why we will provide potentially affected individuals with credit protection at no cost, which will flag their credit files and help detect any potential compromise of their personal information.”
While HRSDC has no evidence that any of the information has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes, those clients who could potentially have been affected by this incident have the choice to request the credit protection services, and can contact the HRSDC call centre at 1-866-885-1866 within North America. For calls from outside of North America, affected citizens can call 1-416-572-1113 and dial 0 to speak to an operator in order to reverse the charges. Callers with a hearing or speech impairment and who use a teletypewriter (TTY) can call at 1-800-263-5883.
To protect privacy, the Department is asking that affected individuals call to provide their consent for their information to be shared with Equifax. The process will be simple and efficient.
A hard drive containing personal information on approximately 583,000 individuals who were Canada Student Loans clients from 2000-2006 has been deemed missing from an HRSDC office in Gatineau, Quebec, although the search is ongoing.
Credit protection services will be arranged once clients make contact with the HRSDC call centre.
HRSDC continues to take all efforts to reassure Canadians that rigorous new protocols are in place to protect their data.
With respect to the last sentence, shouldn't they be reassuring Canadians that they are taking all efforts to protect data rather than taking all efforts to reassure Canadians?