The University of Ottawa has launched an investigation after an external hard drive containing the personal information of approximately 900 students disappeared earlier this month.

Current and former students have been notified of the possible privacy breach and an information line has been set up, the university said in a news release Wednesday.

One University of Ottawa student who received the notification said she was shocked to receive the call.

'I would almost feel better if it had been hacked into instead of just being misplaced because... it just shows they were irresponsible.' - Kate, a University of Ottawa student who got a notification from the school.

"We entrust all of our information to the university that they would basicaly take care of it and nothing would happen, and now there is basically a leak," said Kate, who asked that we not use her last name to safeguard her personal information.

"I would almost feel better if it had been hacked into instead of just being misplaced because... it just shows they were irresponsible," she said.

Police, privacy commisioner notified

Ottawa police and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario have also been notified.

The hard drive was used to back up personal information on individuals who accessed a university resource for students with physical or learning disabilities or mental health issues applying for special academic accommodations.

Figuring out exactly what personal information was stored on the drive is one of the objectives of the investigation, the university said..

"The University takes its role in safeguarding personal information and using it in an appropriate manner very seriously. Measures have been put in place at SASS to reduce the risk of the situation recurring. The University is deeply sorry about this situation," the university said.

Kate said the knowledge her information could be out there is an added stress.

"I never imagined that this could happen... the most important thing for me is to know where the hard drive is."