For the third time in just over two years, there has been a major privacy breach of personal information on Stephen McNeil’s watch. This time, it was the media that noticed and alerted a blissfully unaware government that it had posted sensitive, personal information of Nova Scotians online for all to see.
Yesterday morning CBC Nova Scotia reported on the shocking data breach that shared names, medical conditions and private personal details, including some documenting past abuse, with the general public.
“There is no excuse for the failure to learn from past mistakes. Nova Scotians must be able to trust their government with their most personal, private information and the McNeil Liberals keep giving reasons why we should be leery under their leadership,” says PC leader Tim Houston.
“We have seen time and time again that this government will go to court to keep its decisions secret but, sadly, continues to make mistakes protecting the private and personal information of others, including thousands of Nova Scotians.”
In 2018, Houston introduced legislation that would force the government to inform, as soon as possible, every individual whose personal information is controlled or managed by the government in any situation where their information has or may have been compromised.
Liberal MLA Gordon Wilson shrugged off the need for legislation, insisting that the government could do it on the honour system.
“This doesn't happen because we have legislation to tell us to do this, but because there is a commitment by the government to do the right thing, and to protect citizens to the best of our ability,” said Wilson.
Houston says that governments must be willing to be held to a high standard and accept accountability and responsibility when there is a breakdown. “The culture of a government starts at the very top, and I hope that the McNeil Liberals will now see the importance of the proposed legislation. Today is just more unfortunate evidence that our bill was a good idea in April 2018 and an even better one now,” says Houston.