EDITORIAL: Breakdown on communication

White Rock residents deserved to know sooner about a privacy breach caused as a result of stolen hard drives.

In this day and age, thefts of computer equipment – including hard drives – are not uncommon. Breaches of private information – whether through such thefts, or online hacking, are also an unfortunate fact of modern life.

The common protocol practised by banks, employers, retailers, government agencies and other organizations that deal with the general public is to take a proactive stance as soon as the breach is discovered. A straightforward statement is the greatest antidote to fear and confusion, and can also dispel unnecessary alarm in cases where the risk of compromised information is minimal.

Unfortunately, this was not the approach taken by the City of White Rock following a March 7 theft of four hard drives from White Rock Community Centre.

It took until May 22 for the city to issue a news release to warn the public that there was a possibility that information on those who had financial transactions with the city might have been compromised by the robbery.

And, even more curious, the action only came at the recommendation of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Following investigation by the RCMP and the privacy commissioner, it was determined that the missing hard drives did not pose a huge threat. According to the city’s information technology manager, the drives taken were only part of a larger data-holding network, and none of them held complete, accessible information.

But even if the risk to residents and staff – whose information was on the hard drives – was considered minimal, it is hardly comforting to learn the city was not prepared to be proactive as soon as the breach was discovered.

That it took more than two months for an alert to reach the public is a matter of concern, particularly in a city that has acknowledged it has had communication problems in recent months.

White Rock residents, and those who do business with the city, deserved to know about this far sooner.

Perhaps the city should consider its residents not so much ‘taxpayers’ as ‘investors’. While, as in any corporation, a board has been elected to represent those investors and act on their behalf, it behooves the board to report in a timely fashion to those who, ultimately, fund their operations.

Just Posted

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of Lower Mainland robberies stretched from Surrey to Mission

‘Person of interest’ identified after suspicious meat left in North Delta park

Piles of meat have been dumped near the 63rd Avenue trail entrance four times in the last 30 days

Fundraiser launched for South Surrey stabbing victim’s funeral

Paul Prestbakmo remembered for ‘amazing smile, great soul’

Surrey-raised Merkules raps his way around the world

Cole Stevenson opens up about his ‘Scars,’ a hit remix of ‘Old Town Road’ and how he’s pals with Shaq

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Mouse infestation hit Langley hospital’s kitchens

Droppings and urine were found by Fraser Health inspectors in the spring

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

B.C. mom mourns 14-year-old son whose fatal overdose was posted online

Chantell Griffiths misses the son she hadn’t seen much in recent years

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Oppenheimer Park residents told to leave, clear out tents by Aug. 21

Police say park has seen influx of residents, violence in recent months

Most Read

l -->