Yukon government still waiting for names of students impacted by B.C. data breach

The Yukon government still doesn't know exactly who in the territory was affected by a massive privacy breach in B.C. announced four months ago.

The Yukon government still doesn’t know exactly who in the territory was affected by a massive privacy breach in B.C. announced four months ago.

B.C.‘s privacy commissioner released a report yesterday scolding the province’s Ministry of Education for multiple lapses that led to a backup external hard drive being lost.

Information on 3.4 million people, including approximately 8,000 Yukoners, was on the drive.

Elizabeth Denham found that data had been transferred onto the unencrypted hard drive, which was against policy. As well, the ministry failed to record the existence of the hard drive or store it in a proper facility.

In a statement yesterday, Yukon’s deputy minister of education, Judy Arnold, said that when the department found out about the breach in September it requested that B.C. provide all the Yukon student data that may have been compromised.

That hasn’t happened yet.

“Once we receive this data, we will review it and complete the risk assessment with the Office of the Yukon Ombudsman & Information Privacy Commissioner,” the statement said.

“We can then determine additional safeguards that could be put in place. We will also notify individuals who have been impacted by the data breach.”

When it comes to Yukon records, the drive has names, genders, birthdates, postal codes and personal education numbers for all Yukon kindergarten to Grade 12 students from 1991 to 2009.

The drive also contains student exam and course information for the Yukon from 1991 to 2008. That particular file identifies students by number.

Arnold said in her statement that the Yukon government responded to the incident by “beginning a review of all of our information sharing agreements with B.C., with input from the Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner” and “conducting privacy impact assessments for our internal data collection and storage in order to revise policies as needed.”

Arnold was not available for an interview in time for today’s paper.

Yukon’s privacy commissioner, Diane McLeod-McKay, said it’s important the Yukon government put clauses in contracts that allow the territory to evaluate whether or not the other jurisdictions holding Yukon data are in compliance with their data protection rules.

She said she didn’t know whether the Yukon Department of Education’s contracts have a clause like that.

“It’s really important that public bodies do have effective privacy management programs in place. As part of that contract management is a really important component,” she said.

“Yukon public bodies are not there yet. Many of them don’t have privacy policies and procedures.”

Unlike in B.C., where the privacy commission was able to launch her own independent investigations, McLeod-MacKay’s office is only a tool departments can call on for help if they want. If she could launch her own investigation she would, she said.

She cautions Yukoners to be aware that their information has gone missing. Someone could use that “sort of general information to try and convince a victim to reveal more private information.

“If you don’t know who you’re talking to, whether it be online or on the telephone, do not give out information.”

Anyone looking for more information on the breach can call the B.C. hotline at 1-604-660-2421.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The new Yukon Liberal caucus poses for a photo during the swearing-in ceremony held on May 3. (Yukon Government/Submitted)
Liberal cabinet sworn in at legislature before house resumes on May 11

Newly elected MLA Jeremy Harper has been nominated as speaker.

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 5, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. They formally announced that as of Nov. 20, anyone entering the territory (including Yukoners returning home) would be required to self-isolate with the exception of critical service workers, those exercising treaty rights and those living in B.C. border towns
Vaccinated people won’t have to self-isolate in the Yukon after May 25

Restaurants and bars will also be able to return to full capacity at the end of the month.

An RV pulls into Wolf Creek Campground to enjoy the first weekend of camping season on April 30, 2021. John Tonin/Yukon News
Opening weekend of Yukon campgrounds a ‘definite success’

The territorial campgrounds opened on April 30. Wolf Creek was the busiest park seeing 95 per cent of sites filled.

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: rent caps and vaccines

To Sandy Silver and Kate White Once again Kate White and her… Continue reading

Most Read