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

Province announces $2.5-million boost to increase tourism in B.C.’s resort towns

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Rossland moves forward on single-use plastic bag ban bylaw

Bylaw given first reading at last council meeting

Premier Horgan talks jobs and opportunity at Castlegar mill

Upbeat visit brings message of hope and co-operation among Kootenay forestry players

Recycle major appliances for free in Kootenay Boundary

Free service begins May 1; Refrigerant appliances not included at Greater Trail regional landfill

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Drug decriminalization report welcomed in East Kootenay

Provincial report recommends decriminalizing people who use illicit drugs, shift focus to treatment

New flight service an ‘angel’ for medical patients

Angel Flight East Kootenay will fly medical patients to Kelowna or Vancouver

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Family dog stolen from Kootenay backyard

RCMP appealing for information on pregnant Karelian bear dog missing from Elko, B.C.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read