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Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) recently announced that a portable hard drive containing the personal information of 583,000 Canadian student loan borrowers from 2000 to 2006 was found to be missing from an HRSDC office on November 5, 2012.
Students' names, Social Insurance Numbers, birthdates, contact information and loan balances may have been exposed.
"'On behalf of our government, I want to reassure Canadians that we are serious about protecting their personal information. As minister, I will ensure that every effort is taken so that HRSDC meets the expectations of Canadians in keeping their information safe and secure,' said Human Resources Minister Diane Finley," The Toronto Sun reports. "The feds, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the RCMP are investigating the breach."
"The federal government, however, says it does not have any reason to expect criminal intent with the latest incident, or that the information has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes," write The Ottawa Citizen's Jason Fekete and Tobi Cohen. "The personal contact information of 250 HRSDC employees was also on the hard drive."
"HRSDC is sending letters to individuals involved, although they may not have current contact information for all," writes Global News' Leslie Young. "The department is encouraging individuals to call a toll-free number to verify whether they are affected and to answer questions on the issue."