“As if students didn’t have enough to worry about having to pay back massive loans, now they have the additional stress of having their private information lost by the Conservative government,” says Cleary, MP for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl. “Worrying about whether their private information will end up in the wrong hands should not be an additional price to pay for taking out a student loan.”
This privacy breach is just the latest in a series of missteps by HRSDC. Another breach was discovered at the end of December during an investigation into the loss of a USB key by the department containing personal information for over 5,000 Canadians.
“HRSDC has been one of the departments hit hardest by Conservative cuts,” says Cleary. “When the government collects the personal information of individuals they are also undertaking to deal with that information in a manner that respects the privacy rights of those individuals. The Conservatives are clearly not making privacy a priority.”
“Damage control measures undertaken by the government in reaction to this fiasco could be too little too late, and do not address the underlying issue that the department is being cut, privacy is being compromised and students are bearing the brunt of the Conservative belt tightening.”