Lost hard drive holds 3.4M school records

Education ministry can't say if data has been destroyed or stored in wrong place, investigations underway

Technology

Education ministry staff have searched in vain since this summer to locate a backup hard drive containing B.C. and Yukon student information from 1986 to 2009.

The computer memory disk contains 3.4 million education records, including names, postal codes, grades and personal education numbers.

Citizens’ Services Minister Amrik Virk said Tuesday there is no evidence the information has been taken or misused. After a lengthy physical search of a secure warehouse in Victoria turned up nothing, ministry electronic records continue to be searched to see if the hard drive was destroyed.

Virk said there were two unencrypted backup hard drives created in 2011, contrary to ministry information and privacy rules. Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has been notified and is investigating.

“There’s no doubt that a mistake was made, first in how the hard drive was created, and secondly, how it was stored,” Virk said. “This should not have happened.”

The drive also more than 9,000 personal education numbers for children in government care, connected to information such as health and behaviour issues. This sensitive personal information could be connected to names by comparing the personal education numbers to names using the larger data file.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming said Virk is coming forward after several weeks because he doesn’t believe the missing hard drive will be found.

“For government to admit this has happened is not good enough,” Fleming said. “They have to tell us how and why it happened, and the minister specifically has to say why he failed to do his job.”

Details on the data on the missing hard drive are online here.

A contact centre has been set up through Service BC for specific inquiries. Callers should be able to note when they attended K-12 or post-secondary school in B.C. The contact centre is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached by calling:

Victoria: 250 387-6121

Vancouver: 604 660-2421

Elsewhere in B.C.: 1 800 663-7867

Just Posted

UPDATE: West Fraser to permanently reduce production in Quesnel, Fraser Lake

The move will affect 75 employees in Quesnel, 60 in Fraser Lake

Feedback sought on environmental impacts of New Gold’s proposed Blackwater Mine

Public is invited to comment in final round of consultation

Vanderhoof speed skater makes international debut

Alison Desmarais earned a bronze medal in her first short track speed skating World Cup

Column: the 4-H way of life

Local 4-H member Jacinta Meir on what being a member means to her

Local soccer player Sydney Kelly receives prestigious Premier’s Award

The 18-year-old trained with UNBC’s soccer team while in high school

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read