The personal information of up to 2.4 million Ontarians has been compromised by the disappearance of two memory sticks from an Elections Ontario office in Scarborough.
The information, which includes names, addresses, genders and dates of birth, was not supposed to be stored on unencrypted and non-password protected memory sticks by Elections Ontario staff, the province’s chief electoral officer, Greg Essensa, said Tuesday. The portable storages devices also should have been locked up when not in use. Yet, none of these security protocols were followed, he said as he apologized to the people of Ontario.
“I take this matter extremely seriously and I sincerely apologize to all Ontarians for the worry that this may cause them.”
The security breach, now under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, began, in one sense, with the results of the provincial election last fall. The instability of a minority government, according to an initial report on the breach by law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson, meant that Elections Ontario had to be ready to conduct another election on short notice.
The agency’s headquarters in Scarborough, however, did not have enough room to store both the materials for a future election and the materials that had been returned from the election just conducted. That’s why the agency was forced to lease additional space, also in Scarborough — and it was at that temporary location where the security breach took place, on or near April 26 of this year, the report said.Continued