The Yukon government’s online registry of records previously released in response to requests filed under access-to-information law is currently “under review” following a privacy breach, according to a spokesperson for the Highways and Public Works department.
“This content is under review. Check back for updates,” reads the portal.
The News discovered the message around noon on Jan. 12.
Typically, users can search the database for completed access-to-information requests and responsive records from March 21, 2021. Individuals, journalists and politicians, for example, can file requests for information from public bodies under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) Act.
Currently, none of the completed requests or responsive records are accessible through the registry.
Last week the ATIPP office was notified of a privacy breach in a posted access-to-information program request, according to Brittany Cross, who works in communications for the Highways and Public Works department. In an email on Jan. 15, Cross said the completed request inadvertently included the requester’s name, email address and street address.
To avoid similar breaches, all completed access-to-information requests have been taken down from the registry, per Cross.
“This precaution has been taken so we can review the completed requests to make sure they do not include personal information,” Cross said. “We have also updated our process for posting program requests to prevent similar breaches from occurring in the future.”
A review of the removed requests is underway.
“We hope to have them available again soon, though we are unable to commit to a specific timeline for when they will be posted again,” Cross said.
The Yukon’s information and privacy commissioner’s office wasn’t aware, according to a text in response to the News’ voicemail on the afternoon of Jan. 12. The text notes the registry isn’t something the office manages. The office, which has authority and monitors compliance with the act, is independent from the Yukon government.
A new act went into force in 2021. It’s intended to “make government more transparent and accountable to the public and protect the personal information of Yukoners,” according to briefing notes prepared for the Highways and Public Works minister for the 2023 fall sitting of the Yukon legislature.
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