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In today's Morning Brief, we look at how federal departments or agencies have mishandled personal information belonging to 144,000 Canadians over the past two years. We also examine the latest on anti-pipeline protests and subsequent rail closures, and the tail (er, tale) of an award-winning photograph.

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Personal information belonging to 144,000 Canadians breached by federal departments and agencies

Federal departments or agencies have mishandled personal information belonging to 144,000 Canadians over the past two years. The new figures tabled in the House of Commons were part of an 800-page report from the federal government that didn't offer an explanation for the errors, which range in seriousness from minor hiccups to breaches involving sensitive personal information.

Not everyone who was swept up in a privacy breach was told about it. As it stands, federal departments only have to alert affected individuals in the event of "material" breaches — cases involving sensitive personal information that reasonably could be expected to cause serious injury or harm to an individual — or ones affecting large numbers of people. Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has been pushing for changes to the Privacy Act to make breach reporting mandatory.

The Canada Revenue Agency leads the pack in breaches. More than 3,005 separate incidents affecting close to 60,000 Canadians between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 10, 2019 were disclosed. But many departments reported they didn't know how many people were affected by individual information breaches, or how many were subsequently contacted and warned — meaning the real total could be more than 144,000.

A privacy lawyer said the government's standards for protecting personal information and reporting breaches should be higher than those in private sector firms. "We don't get to choose as citizens what governments we deal with, and governments are custodians of a significant amount of highly sensitive personal information," said David Fraser of McInnes Cooper in Halifax. There's also not much recourse available to victims, who can file complaints under the Privacy Act with the commissioner, but one expert said more people are turning to class-action lawsuits for financial satisfaction in these cases. Read about the scope of the breaches here.

Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight...

Sam Rowley won London's Natural History Museum's prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the year award for this photo of two mice fighting in the London Underground. (Sam Rowley)

Sam Rowley won London's Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for this photo of two mice squabbling in the London Underground. To capture the perfect moment, Rowley spent a week lying on various train platforms, sometimes for five hours at a time, he said. "I was getting lots of funny looks from strangers," he said. "Thank goodness something actually came out of it." Listen to Rowley's interview with As It Happens host Carol Off here.

In brief

Ten women filed a civil class-action lawsuit accusing Peter Nygard of raping them at his seaside mansion in the Bahamas. Nygard, one of Canada's wealthiest businessmen and clothing manufacturers, is also accused in the lawsuit of operating what the accusers refer to as a "sex trafficking ring." The alleged rapes took place between 2008 and 2015; three of the women were 14 at the time of the alleged rapes, while three others were 15. There are no criminal charges associated with any of the allegations, and Nygard's lawyer "vigorously" denied the accusations. Read more from The Fifth Estate here.

CN Rail and Via Rail are shutting down huge sections of their railway networks amid ongoing Indigenous blockades. The federal government, which has jurisdictional authority over railways, has so far refused to intervene. Tyendinaga Mohawk protesters near Belleville, Ont., have said they won't end their blockade until the RCMP leaves the traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en in northern B.C. Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller has agreed to meet with the Mohawk activists on Saturday. Read more about the situation here.

A group of parents, educators and activists is looking to create a Canadian black history curriculum for schools in B.C. Markiel Simpson, who brought the group together, said he never learned black Canadian history as a student in Vancouver schools. B.C.'s Ministry of Education says the current curriculum "supports the teaching of black history topics," but the group hopes its initiative becomes a permanent fixture. This story is featured this month in a CBC-wide project called Being Black in CanadaRead more from the initiative here.

Bombardier ended its involvement in the commercial airplane-making business by selling its stake in the A220 program — formerly known as the C Series. The company, which is working to pay off its multibillion-dollar debt, is reportedly considering selling its rail division too. But for Quebec's provincial government, the A220 deal with Airbus was an acceptable solution to a situation that could have ended badly, with mass layoffs or further financial turbulence. Read more about what's next for Quebec's aerospace industry here.

Now for some good news to start your Friday: A group of high school students in Summerside, P.E.I., launched a new initiative to curb single-use plastics. The group of students did some research at the school and found that approximately 51,000 pieces of Styrofoam or plastic would be used there in the course of three years. They approached the administration with the idea of purchasing reusable items instead, and say there was immediate support. Read more about the initiative here.

Front Burner: Why B.C. is a battleground for Indigenous land rights

It's been a week of nationwide protests, blockades and arrests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline planned in traditional Wet'suwet'en territory in northwestern B.C. At the core of this conflict is a long-running dispute over who has authority over the land the pipeline is supposed to run through. Click on the media player below to listen to CBC's Duncan McCue discuss the pivotal 1997 court case that played a part in setting the stage for this dispute.

It’s been a week of nationwide protests, blockades and arrests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a section of which would pass through traditional Wet’suwet’en territory in northwestern British Columbia. At the core of this conflict is a long-running dispute over who has authority over the land where the pipeline would be contructed. Today on Front Burner, CBC’s Duncan McCue offers a close look at the pivotal 1997 court case that set the stage for this dispute: Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia. 21:21

Today in history: Feb. 14

1876: Inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray apply separately for American patents related to the telephone. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled that Bell — who moved to Canada from his native Scotland — was the rightful inventor.

1879: La Marseillaise becomes the national anthem of France.

1996: Mr. Dressup, CBC-TV's children's show starring Ernie Coombs, tapes its last episode after 29 years. Coombs made the name Mr. Dressup instantly recognizable to a generation of Canadian children. The show received several awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Children's Broadcast Institute in 1989.

2002: Catriona Le May Doan becomes the first Canadian to win a repeat gold medal in any individual Olympic event. The Saskatoon speedskater wins the women's 500 metres in Salt Lake City. Her triumph came four years to the day after she captured the same event at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

2018: A former student opens fire at a Parkland, Fla., high school, killing 17 people and wounding 14 others. The 19-year-old suspect, who was expelled in 2017 for disciplinary reasons, was taken into custody without a fight about an hour after he left the scene.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters