The Merchant Law Group has filed a class action law suit on behalf of 27 people from Saskatchewan and one person from British Columbia who had personal information on a missing computer hard drive at ISM Canada. They are suing the government of Saskatchewan, ISM Canada, the Co-operators Life insurance company and the Investors Group.

"The people who talk to us really complain that they just feel used and their privacy destroyed," lawyer Tony Merchant says. "They don't know where their information is, they don't know who knows what about them. Some of the people with Workers Compensation particularly have been required to say very personal things about themselves."

The drive has been missing since Jan. 16, but the public was first notified of the matter Jan. 23 when the government of Saskatchewan admitted that the drive had gone missing. Since then the possibility of theft has meant the involvement of Regina Police.

Premier Lorne Calvert says he does not think the government is to blame for the loss of the personal information. He says the situation has not damaged his government's credibility.

"It was not government here who lost the information," he says. "It's been lost by our private sector supplier and in the world in which we live it is highly unlikely we can manage these volumes of information without turning to those major firms in the field. ISM, being IBM in Canada, is a major player in the field."

Hundreds of thousands of people had personal information on the missing hard drive. Last week Co-operators Life said that 180,000 people may be affected by the theft, while Investors Group said late last week that the information of 750,000 people was also on the drive. The Workers Compensation board and the province's property, finance and health departments are also named in the suit.

Among the charges forming the basis of the case are fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of confidence, breach of contract and confidentiality, violation of privacy and statutory liability.