Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 4:45 PM

City Apologizes for Privacy Breach

text - City Apologizes for Privacy Breach

On January 22, 2019 the City of St. John’s was contacted by a member of the media to advise of a privacy breach related to a 2017 Access to Information request.

The document, that was posted on the City's website, identified tax accounts in arrears owing $10,000 or more as of Dec. 31, 2016. The City has in excess of 40,000 accounts, approximately 500 of which were listed in the document.

The document contained each account’s number, name, civic address, and balance owing. Until January 22, 2019, the City was unaware that personal information contained in the document was not properly redacted. Although the information appeared to be fully redacted and personal information was not visible on the website, the document had not been properly sanitized - meaning the original layers of text were not removed.

Once notified of the issue the City immediately removed all responses to Access to Information requests from our website until all documents can be reviewed. The document in question was posted in 2017 and was not redacted using the current process.

City staff have been in contact with the Newfoundland and Labrador Information and Privacy Commissioner and advised him of the measures taken in response to this breach.

Any resident whose information was contained in this document will be contacted directly. The City is committed to ensuring that appropriate action is being taken to protect the personal information of any individual referenced in documents posted on the City’s website.

The City is not aware of any circumstances where the information was used inappropriately.

The City apologizes to any person whose privacy may have been affected by this breach.