Thursday, December 02, 2004

Privacy watchdog probes firms

The Information and Privacy Commissioner has his work cut out for him, at least for the short term. More purloined personal information has been found through an investigation that began with the discovery of sensitive data in the course of a drug bust. It appears the information was collected by dumpster diving drug addicts, who sell the info to ID thieves to fuel their addictions. From the Edmonton Sun:

Edmonton Sun: Privacy watchdog probes firms:

"The province's privacy commissioner yesterday launched an investigation into three Edmonton-area businesses whose customers' personal information ended up in a hotel room. The privacy office is already investigating how civil servants' personal data - including credit reports - got to the hotel and was then found by cops working on a credit card probe. Drug paraphernalia and a shotgun were also found.

'This has got to stop,' Privacy Commissioner Frank Work said. 'The paper that the (police) showed me was mind-blowing. There's bags of it. I thought, 'Holy smokes.' '

Linens 'n' Things, Nor-Don Collection Network Inc. and Digital Communications Group Ltd. are under investigation.

But the holiday season is prime-time for dumpster divers and identity thieves, Work warned.

'There's going to be a zillion purchases and then a zillion returns. All that paper generated will make for a field day for thieves when they go rifling through dumpsters,' he said.


Also, from today's Globe and Mail:

The Globe and Mail: Alberta probes leak of credit records:

CALGARY -- Alberta's Privacy Commissioner launched an investigation yesterday after the credit information of thousands of consumers landed in the hands of suspects in an identity-theft scheme.

Edmonton police recovered bank records, cellphone contracts, credit information held by a collection agency and credit-card receipts in connection with a search warrant executed Nov. 9 in a city hotel room in a credit-card investigation.

A man and a woman face criminal charges, including two counts each of possession of credit-card data, and it appears the documents were seized before the personal information of hundreds, even thousands of individuals, was used illicitly...."

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