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

What does Ladysmith think about the increase in property taxes?

We asked Ladysmith residents how they feel about this year’s tax hike

Two Ladysmith Secondary students awarded prestigious scholarships

Andrea Stachow and Sophie Steele were awarded large scholarships for their post-secondary education.

The mother of all musicals leaves audience members wanting more

Mamma Mia! checks all the boxes as one of the Chemainus Theatre’s all-time best shows

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students put their robots to the test in competition

High school students problem-solved at VEX robotics tournament this week

Old police station development going ahead as “mixed-use” site

Fred Green hosted the second public consultation on what should be done about the decrepit building

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read