Nova Scotia·Point of View

Concern rises over major student loan security breach

Many Canadians with student loan debt are concerned after a major federal government security breach — including some Nova Scotians.

Many Canadians with student loan debt are concerned after a major federal government security breach — including some Nova Scotians.

The information was lost in early November when a portable hard drive vanished, affecting people who received Canada Student Loans between 2000 and 2006.

Canada's assistant privacy commissioner, Chantal Bernier, said the loss of so much personal data is "unprecedented," adding that her office is investigating the incident.

A total of 583,000 people across the country are now scrambling to contact their banks, and waiting to learn exactly what the breach means.

People across the country have been taking to social media to express their frustration and spread word of the breach to others.

"Great, just great. I was affected by the @HRSDCanada Student Loans privacy breach," tweeted @k_chaos.

Matt Corkum tweeted, "My wife and I, and most of our friends, it seems, are among the 538,000 people affected by the student loans privacy breach. Lovely."

Many on Twitter and Facebook are discussing joining the class-action suit being pursued by a Newfoundland lawyer.

MP for Sydney-Victoria Mark Eyking said he has questions for Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.

"Whose information has been lost or stolen? Where is it at? So there is quite a bit of confusion out there, that's why we're looking for clarification from the minister," said Eyking.

"I mean with that kind of information in the wrong hands it's something to be really concerned about, for sure." 

Anne Marie Hayden, a spokesperson for the Privacy Commission of Canada, said since last week hundreds of people have called their office. 

Hayden said the Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is directly investigating the breach. 

"We're taking the matter very seriously. I think you can expect that the commissioner will, in due course, make public her findings in this matter," said Hayden.

Those wondering if they're on the list can call 1-866-885-1866.