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

Chemainus Theatre promises next year will be a record-breaker

Mama Mia one of three blockbuster shows theatre brass expect to draw big audiences

Ladysmith Interact club students inspired and inspiring

Ladysmith Secondary School group making a difference in their community

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read