British Columbia

Privacy issues still not fixed on government computers, says B.C. auditor general

British Columbia's auditor general says the government has made progress in addressing potential privacy issues with a problematic computer system, but there's still work to be done.

2015 audit found social work case management system did not adequately protect personal info

B.C. auditor general Carol Bellringer says the government has made "significant effort" to improve an insecure computer system, but more work is still needed.

British Columbia's auditor general says the government has made progress in addressing potential privacy issues with a problematic computer system, but there's still work to be done.

Carol Bellringer's office first audited the $182-million Integrated Case Management System in 2015 and found it was incomplete and did not protect sensitive personal information.

The system, used by the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, dates back to 2008 and was meant to replace outdated computer systems used to deliver social programs including child protection, child-care subsidies and income assistance.

More information needed

The auditor general's office released a progress audit on Monday that says the government has made "significant effort" to improve the system, especially when it comes to those who can access client information.

However, Bellringer says the ministry still has work to do, including a full review of inactive accounts, such as those for employees who have moved to other jobs or have left the public service.

She says the government has also provided "only minimal information" on the system's operating costs, and more information is needed to ensure transparency.

The ministry reports it has fully or substantially completed each of the eight recommendations made in the initial audit, but Bellringer says her office assessed six of the recommendations as being partially complete.

The progress audit did not evaluate the other two recommendations about the quality of client information because the auditor determined there was a lower risk that the ministry hadn't addressed them.

"This difference of opinion is largely because the ministry based its progress on the effort of addressing each recommendation and we looked and whether it had achieved the recommendation," Bellringer says.

The ministry has made continued progress since the latest audit was conducted, she adds.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now