‘Internal theft’ of data on 60,000 customers of Ontario’s private 407 freeway could be linked to PC party recruitment

TORONTO — The operator of Ontario’s private 407 freeway said Wednesday it is notifying 60,000 of its customers that information about the motorists was divulged through an “internal theft” of names, addresses and phone numbers.

Local police and federal and provincial privacy agencies have also been notified of the breach, which the firm first learned about last week, said Kevin Sack, a spokesman for the 407 ETR Concession Company.

Sack, vice president of marketing and communications, said he could not speculate on how the information might have been used. But there is some evidence it could have been employed to help recruit Conservative party members in internal campaigns.

The data did not include financial information such as credit cards or personal details like car licence numbers and customers’ trip history on the highway, Sack stressed in a statement. And he said there does not appear to have been any external attack of the computer system.

The risk of the information being used for identity theft or other financial harm is slim, but the 407 owners will offer free credit monitoring and identity-theft protection for a year to affected customers, they said.

“The company is taking this matter very seriously as the privacy and protection of our customers’ information is of the utmost importance,” said the statement. “We sincerely apologize for this incident and we will continue to do everything possible to ensure full resolution of this matter.

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The National Post has seen what appears to be some of the purloined information, which suggests it was at one point in the hands of a company called D-Media. The name appears in the properties of the Excel file under the heading “last saved by.”

D-Media is linked to Snover Dhillon, an organizer who helped several would-be Progressive Conservative candidates recruit members as part of their drive to win PC nominations. Signing up new members can be critical to getting enough support to win a candidacy, but many of the Tory races over the last 19 months ended in controversy and dispute, sometimes with allegations of membership fraud. Several were overturned before and after Doug Ford won the party’s leadership.

Dhillon, an associate of former leader Patrick Brown, said in a brief interview Wednesday he knew nothing about the 407 data theft. Asked if he or his company might have used the information, Dhillon said he didn’t remember.

“When we do the campaigns, in the nominations, sometimes people, candidates, give the data, but I don’t know where it came from,” he said. “We don’t know where they got it from.”

Sack said in the statement that 407 became aware of the theft on May 10, though it appears to have occurred sometime in the last 12 months.

“407 ETR is directly contacting approximately 60,000 customers by mail to advise that their …read more

Source:: Nationalpost – News


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