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Regina police recover missing hard drive
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 01:13:27 -0600 (CST)


Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Tuesday, February 4, 2003 
Online Edition, 

Regina police have recovered a computer hard-disk drive that had been
missing from ISM Canada Inc. and contains confidential information for
more than one million people.

The disk contained a variety of data including account information for
customers of Saskatchewan Power Corp., Saskatchewan
Telecommunications, the provincial workers' compensation plan, a unit
of Co-operators Group Ltd. of Guelph, Ont., Winnipeg-based Investors
Group Inc. and thousands of Manitoba businesses.

"Late [Monday] our people recovered the hard drive," said Sergeant
Rick Bourassa of the Regina police department. "Charges are pending
against a single individual."

Sgt. Bourassa would not say where the disk was recovered or who will
be charged. He added that investigators are examining the disk to see
if any of the information on it was used.

"There is nothing to indicate at all through the whole course of the
investigation that the information was targeted or that it was used at
all," he said. "However, we have people looking at it to confirm

Anne Mowat, a spokeswoman for ISM, declined to comment on the recovery
of the disk other than to say the company is co-operating with the
police. She also declined to say whether an ISM employee is the target
of police.

The disk, about the size of a videocassette, went missing on Jan. 16
from ISM's Regina office. ISM, a subsidiary of Markham, Ont.-based IBM
Canada Ltd., is one of the largest providers of information system
services in Canada and its clients include dozens of government
agencies and private businesses.

On Monday, Investors began sending letters to its one million clients
to ease their concerns about the missing information (clients of
Mackenzie Financial, a unit of Investors Group, are not affected).

"We're very encouraged that Regina police have the hard drive in their
possession," said Ron Arnst, a spokesman for Investors Group.  
"Obviously we are watching what's going on, and we are going to wait
to learn more before making any more detailed comment."

Also on Monday, the Manitoba government revealed that some tax
information for 43,000 businesses was on the disk.

"This is extremely good news for our clients," said Brian Forbes,
director of the administration section for the Manitoba government
taxation division. "We understand that there is a forensic
investigation going on and we are optimistic with good results from
that, that the information is secure. I will certainly sleep a little
easier when I know the information wasn't used."

A Regina law firm has launched a class-action lawsuit against ISM and
several of its clients, including Co-operators and Investors Group, on
behalf of people whose information was on the disk. The suit alleges
the companies failed to properly protect the information and did not
promptly inform those affected. ISM did not announce that the disk had
gone missing until last week.

ISM, Co-operators and Investors Group have declined to comment on the
suit. Investors Group said it was not told about the extent of its
client information on the disk until Jan. 29.

Investors Group and the Saskatchewan government have said they will no
longer use ISM until the company can provide assurances about the
security of its data. Co-operators has also said it is reviewing its
relationship with ISM. Furthermore, the Saskatchewan government is
considering suing ISM.

Experts say the lost disk is the largest privacy mishap in Canada.

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