Elections Ontario, an agency tasked with the organization and conduct of general elections and by-elections in Canada’s Ontario region, is warning voters about the loss and potential theft of two USB sticks containing private information of 2.4 million voters from approximately 20-25 electoral districts.
“The information at issue is limited to full name, gender, birth date, address, whether or not an elector voted in the last provincial election and any other personal information updates provided by voters to Elections Ontario during that time, as well as administrative codes used solely for election purposes,” the agency shared. “The information does not include how an individual voted.”
Social Insurance Numbers, Ontario Health card information, driver’s license information, telephone numbers, email addresses, credit card or banking information, and other information provided by voters during the 2011 election were not compromised.
Even through there have been no known instances of the misuse of the stolen information, a potential identity thief might have enough information to open bank accounts or to impersonate voters in other situations.
Affected voters have been advised to keep a close eye on their personal transaction statements from governments, financial institutions, businesses and any other institutions, in order to detect any unusual activity.
The information contained on the two sticks wasn’t encrypted and the sticks themselves weren’t password-protected – as they should have. Still, it can only be accessed and read by using internal Elections Ontario proprietary software or specialized commercial software applications.
According to Greg Essensa, the Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario, a police investigation into the circumstances that lead to the incident is ongoing