Database of British Columbians’ personal health information is ‘disturbingly’ vulnerable: privacy watchdog – CBC

Report finds sensitive details on personal matters like mental health, pregnancies, STDs vulnerable to misuse

Dec 15, 2022

Millions of highly sensitive personal health records about people accessing health care in British Columbia have been left “disturbingly” vulnerable to leaks after the provincewide health authority failed to address security concerns in recent years, a new report has found.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. published a report Thursday saying the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) has known about the “troubling” level of exposure since it audited its own system in 2019, but hasn’t done enough to address the issue.

“There is an enormous volume of sensitive personal information that, if breached, could cause a significant list of harms including embarrassment, loss of dignity, family breakdowns, and even physical harm to individuals if it was accessed improperly,” read the report from the privacy watchdog.

“One would expect the highest degree of privacy and security would be in place to protect our personal information from such intrusions … But as we learned during our investigation, this is not so.”

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