Author Topic: Privacy complaints, data breaches jump: Watchdog Jennifer Stoddart  (Read 13850 times)

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Sylvain Chartrand CD

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The QP clip: When Question Period produced a real answer on veterans’ affairs


The NDP’s veterans affairs critic, Peter Stoffer, is known for giving his Conservative colleagues advance notice of a question he’ll pose during Question Period. Today, he asked Heritage Minister James Moore about privacy concerns raised by a veteran. And then, in a genuine QP rarity, Moore stood and provided a real answer to the question.

    Stoffer: Mr. Speaker, before I start my question I would like to offer sincere condolences for the police officer who was killed in Kuujjuak and to the other officer who was shot. Hopefully he will recover very soon. The heritage minister is aware of my question. Richard Caissie of Courtenay, B.C., a CF veteran, asked for his personal medical files and said he received two personal medical files of two other veterans. I want to ask the hon. member this. When will Richard Caissie receive his files, because he has not yet received them, will he apologize for that error, and what about protecting the privacy of all our veterans and military personnel in this country?

    Moore: Mr. Speaker, first I certainly join the member opposite in expressing his condolences for the lost life. We certainly share his sentiments in that regard. With regard to Mr. Caissie, I thank my colleague for his notice on this question. He should know that I did contact Daniel Caron, the Head of Library and Archives Canada, who is looking into this matter. Hopefully, Mr. Caissie will get his information by the end of the day today, and we will look into why false information was sent because that clearly is something that should never happen.

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Privacy Violation as a Weapon Against Veterans
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2013, 05:30:12 AM »
Privacy Violation as a Weapon Against Veterans

Jeff Rose-Martland

Author, Playwright, Citizen Advocate

Posted: 11/16/2012 9:07 am

The term privacy violation has been in the news so much that most of us tune it out. Really, who cares that some employee looked at someone's file somewhere? Even if it's wrong, isn't that simply human nature, to be curious? Even if it was malicious, why should everyone care? And aren't media reports just making the violation worse, anyway?

Privacy Violation -- Snooping in files one has no legitimate need to see

Which is the problem with the phrase; it only applies to the act of looking and doesn't adequately describe the crime. Privacy violation applies to a bored employee who browsed files looking for friends and relatives as a way to fill time between coffee breaks. But the term equally applies to digging up dirt for malicious purposes. In both cases, the crime is the same: illegally accessing information. But the intentions are very different. And yet, media uses the same phrase, over and over, and we have stopped paying attention.

Compare privacy violation with excessive speed. We hear about speeding on our roads all the time. Some times, excessive speed means driving a little over the limit because it is rush hour. Other times, excessive speed means driving a souped-up street machine at 250kmph through residential streets. We mostly ignore the first reports, but we are outraged at the second.

Which is how we should be with privacy violations in federal departments.

Two years ago, Sean Bruyea came forward with proof that staff at the Minister of Veterans Affairs had violated his privacy. This wasn't any minor bored-clerk stuff. His medical and financial details had been circulated after he criticized the New Veterans Charter. In the minutes of a VAC conference call, an had said "it's time to take the gloves off here" a senior veterans official said -- like a statement from a mob-movie. And they did: Bruyea's benefits were modified and cancelled. VAC even tried to get him committed to a mental hospital.

Privacy Violation -- Bureaucrats using your private information to attack you.

Then there's Harold Leduc. Leduc was a member of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, which reviews benefits claims. Leduc is also a veteran. Fellow board members decided they didn't like the way Leduc was doing his job. So they pulled his VAC file and passed it around. Leduc got a regular barrage of snide comments about his service and injuries. He was told that everyone was waiting for his nervous breakdown. He was reminded of the events that gave him PTSD. Leduc is now asking the Attorney General to investigate.

Privacy Violation -- Co-workers using your private records to bully you.

There are many, many more cases at Veterans Affairs. Those that have gone public have two things in common: they have all spoken out about VAC policy and they are all veterans. Some can prove the Minister was given their information. Some can only prove that Ministerial staff was reading their files. Some allege their benefits were affected after they spoke out; some claim their medical histories were used to discredit them. Some can show they were personally attacked; some can prove their families were also targeted.

Privacy Violation - The use of private information to intimidate or threaten individuals.

When Bruyea came forward, the Privacy Commissioner investigated...sort of. Ms Stoddart was only able to report on the facts of the violations and not on the reasons behind them. Had senior bureaucrats breeched his privacy? Yes. Why? She couldn't tell us. What was the information used for? She couldn't tell us. What action should be taken against the offenders? It wasn't her decision to make.

The same would be true for Harold Leduc.

Amid much fanfare and hyperbole, then-Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn announced that the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman would get to the bottom of things, that heads would roll, that charges would be laid if warranted.

A few months later, the new Minister, Steven Blaney, quietly ordered the inquiry halted. And a few months after that, some of the people implicated received big, fat, performance bonuses. Heads rolled, alright. They rolled all the way to the bank, still attached to their bodies.

Privacy Violation - A great way to advance your career.

Should we be concerned? You bet. Look at the victims. These are people who swore to defend Canada. We trusted them with our country and our lives. They were trained to dedication and determination. They were awarded medals for their service to us -- they have honours. And honour. And irreproachable reputations to carry them past these attacks.

We don't know what happened at Veterans Affairs. We also don't know if this is just Veterans Affairs. If a government department was willing to attack decorated veterans for expressing their opinion, then what chance would you or I have?

Privacy Violation -- A weapon used by government to stifle dissent.

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Ottawa destroys veteran's medical records
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2013, 08:00:29 PM »

Kenneth H Young CD
Rant for the day. Nov. 23, 2013

Yesterday Nov.22, 2013 I gave an interview to CTV about VAC destroyed personal, private, Military, Medical Files from many now defunct VA/Military Hospitals throughout Canada. To be precise 27,381 BOXES of, “patient files for former Veterans Hospitals.”

Only to listen to a statement from VAC which implied that they were administrative files and of no further use to either the National Archives or the Veterans in question.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

First and foremost is that Pram Gill – Parliamentary Secretary of the Minister of veterans affairs has already apologized to the House for unintentionally misleading the House of Commons when he made similar comments but also because even suggesting that there is no further use for anyone’s Military medical files for Historic or archival use, is in my opinion very short-sighted unless their intent was to make sure that no answer’s, explanation’s or connections between the medical conditions and deaths of both soldiers and Veterans and many of the Military’s so called enigmas such as Agent Orange, Gulf war Syndrome, Malathion, depleted uranium, radiation related conditions from both Arizona and Chalk River and so on.

One has to wonder why when Pram Gill – Parliamentary Secretary of the Minister of veterans affairs, has already corrected this statement as being misleading, why they continue to allow their Department VAC to mislead the general public?

Although they are maybe of no further Military or historic value, they are without any doubt of very much medical and family history value. What’s more is that, “Health Records Directive 6600-2-7 from the assistant Deputy Minister of Defence, Dated April 23, 2004, states clearly that Health (and therefore medical) records, “Must be transferred to the custody of NA (National Archives) where they are subsequently reviewed 90 years from the members date of birth (DOB) for Military or Historic Value and determination of final disposition.”

Please note that nowhere in this statement is mentioned or implied that if they take up too much room or you tire of them that they may be destroyed whenever you see fit.

In my opinion to destroy ex- CF member (now Veteran’s) medical record regardless of whether they are now decease or not, shows a complete contempt for the lives and illnesses of our Canada’s heroes. No Military person’s life should be considered of no further military of historic value. To do so belittles their contribution to Canada and our freedom and what’s more makes a complete mockery of Remembrance Day if our past soldiers aren’t even worth a room for their medical records or the time and effort it would take to scan and place on external hard drives.

Maybe these hard drive once full could be placed in the tomb of the unknown soldier because Ottawa and VAC seems to have forgotten them and they are now unknown to all but their maker.

Kenneth H Young CD
PS< Share if you wish.


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Ottawa reports 101 privacy breaches since April VAC:38!!!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2014, 08:14:01 AM »
Ottawa reports 101 privacy breaches since April

The federal government has quietly logged 101 breaches of Canadians’ private information over the last four months, the Star has learned.

By: Alex Boutilier Staff Reporter, Published on Fri Aug 01 2014

OTTAWA—The federal government has quietly logged 101 breaches of Canadians’ private information over the last four months, the Star has learned.

Numbers released by Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien’s office reveal his office was informed of a privacy breach an average of almost once a day since April 1.

The majority of these breaches occurred in two departments: Veterans’ Affairs Canada (38) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (31). Canada Revenue Agency experienced another 14 breaches.

Eleven other departments — including Foreign Affairs and Trade, Employment and Social Development, and Transport Canada — reported between one and four breaches to Therrien’s office.

While the affected departments are known, the circumstances around the privacy breaches have not been released. What kind of data were at risk is also unknown at this time, although Therrien’s office said most are not considered “material.”

Federal guidelines define “material” privacy breaches as incidents that involve “sensitive personal information” that “could reasonably be expected to cause serious injury or harm to the individual and/or involves a large number of affected individuals.”

One such material breach is believed to have occurred at the National Research Council earlier this month. The Conservative government has accused Chinese-sponsored hackers of infiltrating the NRC’s network — a claim Beijing flatly denied earlier this week.

Tobi Cohen, a spokeswoman for Therrien’s office, said the commissioner was first informed of that breach on July 23 — almost a week before the government confirmed the incident.

“We were briefed further on July 28, at which point it was confirmed that the system that was infiltrated contained personal information,” Cohen wrote in an email.

“At this point, what we can say is that this appears to be a serious security issue, however, we understand the full extent of the impact still has to be determined.”

Cohen said the office is following the situation closely “due to the potential implication for personal information.”

The NRC network has since been isolated from other Government of Canada network. The agency has also been working with CSEC — Canada’s electronic espionage agency, which discovered the cyber attack — and other unnamed “security partners.”

The agency has refused to answer any questions on the breach since it was revealed on Monday, citing security and confidentiality. On Thursday, the agency’s communications branch released an update stating the breach “remains the top priority.”

The NRC has said they’re working on a new “secure IT infrastructure” that could be in place in approximately one year, but expects interruptions to regular business in the short term.

“The NRC expects to be able to resume business activities in an orderly manner over the next few weeks and months,” the statement read.

In documents presented to the chief information officer on Monday, federal bureaucrats warned that Ottawa needs a more coherent plan to address large-scale cyber attacks like the Heartbleed security bug.

The software vulnerability that forced the shutdown of Canada Revenue Agency’s electronic tax filing system in April. Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes, a 19-year old computer science student from London, Ont., was arrested on April 15 for allegedly using Heartbleed to obtain the tax information of 900 Canadians.

On May 5, the Conservative government made it mandatory for departments and agencies to report material privacy breaches to both the privacy commissioner and Treasury Board, the department responsible for the federal government’s privacy guidelines.

In a briefing note to Treasury Board President Tony Clement obtained by the Star, Treasury Board Secretary Yaprak Baltacioglu wrote that institutions were previously required to notify only individual Canadians affected by privacy breaches.

“The new mandatory reporting of material privacy breaches does not change this process but ensures that both the (privacy commissioner and Treasury Board) are informed in cases where the breach could reasonably be expected to cause serious injury or harm to the individual,” Baltacioglu wrote.

“Data from this reporting will be used to assess trends in the privacy breach landscape and materials will be developed, as required, to help mitigate future risks within the Government of Canada.”

Breakdown of the breaches

A look at where the breaches have occurred over the last four months:

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada: 1

Canada Revenue Agency: 14

Canadian Heritage: 1

Canadian Human Rights Commission: 1

Citizenship and Immigration Canada: 31

Correctional Service Canada: 1

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development: 4

Employment and Social Development Canada: 2

Fisheries and Oceans: 2

National Research Council Canada: 1

Statistics Canada: 2

Transport Canada: 2

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: 1

Veterans Affairs Canada: 38

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