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Audit Reveals Significant Risk at Passport Offices in Canada

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The Vancouver Sun reported on December 5, 2008 that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner released an audit on Thursday December 4, 2008 that stated "significant risks" for Canadian passport applicants. In the report, the risks included the fact that applications and documents containing sensitive information were tossed and stored in clear plastic bags and garbage bags. It was also discovered that documents shredded on site could easily be put back together.

The report states "There is a risk of consequences -- identity theft, for example -- to individual passport holders if their personal information goes missing or is stolen. It's clear that stronger safeguards are required to protect this data." One sure way to resolve part of the security problem would be to contract a secure information destruction vendor in order to properly dispose of the paper and electronic data at risk.

In 2007, Passport Canada processed more than 3.6 million passport applications and it has more than 30 million passport records in its control. We applaud the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for releasing this report and for implementing a strategic plan to protect the storage and destruction of sensitive personal information at government agencies.

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