Friday, August 25, 2006

Theft of information from union office under investigation in Nova Scotia

From the Halifax Chronicle Herald earlier this week:

Pace of information theft probe frustrates C.B. union manager

Members’ information was stolen


The business manager of a Cape Breton union is upset that records for its 400-plus members that went missing more than a year ago still haven’t been recovered.

Files containing social insurance numbers, addresses, and bank account and income tax information were taken from the Sydney office of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1852 in September 2005, Brian Tobin said Wednesday night.

"It’s frustrating, to say the least," he said.

"Here’s all this personal, confidential information out there in the hands of who knows who and there’s nothing being done about it."

Mr. Tobin said the information was stolen by a former employee.

No union members have reported that their information has been misused, but the implications of what could be done with the data are worrisome, he said.

"This is a pretty scary business."

When he took over as business manager in April, Mr. Tobin said he called the Cape Breton Regional Police and any municipal representatives he thought might help.

The union also filed charges with its international office, which allowed the former employee to remain in the 438-member union on the condition that he returns the records, Mr. Tobin said.

Insp. Tom Hastie confirmed that Cape Breton Regional Police received a complaint about "some suspicions and some missing documents" in May.

"The file is ongoing and still under investigation," Insp. Hastie said.

Police do have a suspect or suspects in mind.

"There are some leads, obviously, in the case and any of these types of frauds or thefts from within establishments such as that, they’re quite in-depth and involved, and the onus is on us to make sure that we do a very thorough investigation," he said.

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