Sunday, April 16, 2006

Incident: Laptop theft exposes clients of confidential counselling services

Another laptop theft, another privacy incident.

From the Chilliwack Progress in British Columbia:

Data privacy breach affects FHA
By Jeff Nagel
Black Press
Apr 16 2006

Fraser Health Authority (FHA) employees have been warned that some of them who used an ultra-confidential counselling service may have had their privacy breached as a result of a theft of a computer.

The computer with a disk inside it went missing in March from the Vancouver office of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) run by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

The disk contained the names, birth dates, contact information and referral reasons for thousands of Lower Mainland health workers who sought help for intensely personal problems.

The service offers help with relationship counselling, drug or alcohol addictions, sexuality questions, abuse, loss and grief, and stress or emotional traumas - among other issues.

"People who use the EFAP program are often going through a crisis of some kind," said Hospital Employees' Union spokesman Mike Old. "The theft of that information is of great concern to the union and its members....

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