An external hard drive containing the details of 583,000 student loan borrowers has been lost, Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSD) Canada revealed on Friday.
Staffers noticed that the hard drive, used to backup information, was missing on November 5, 2012. One month later, they learned what was stored on the drive and on December 14 they notified the privacy commissioner.
It contained student names, dates of birth, social insurance numbers, addresses and other information, The Star reports.
Notification letters are being sent out to all the affected individuals. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been called in to review the incident and determine if an investigation is needed.
The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley called the incident “unacceptable and avoidable.” She has directed department officials to take immediate actions to prevent such situations from happening in the future.
This isn’t the first time when the HRSD compromises the personal details of Canadians. At the end of 2012 they lost a USB stick containing information on 5,000 people.