BC Liberal MLAs raise questions about government security and accountability in the wake of the LifeLabs cyberattack

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Ben Stewart

Kelowna: BC Liberal MLAs Ben Stewart and Norm Letnick are calling on John Horgan and the NDP to answer questions about government accountability and the protection of private information after health information provider LifeLabs fell victim to a cyberattack, exposing the personal information of nearly 15 million Canadians, including almost 4 million British Columbians.

“This is one of British Columbia’s largest data breaches in recent history and it is raising serious questions about how private companies and this government handle our personal information,” said Norm Letnick, BC Liberal Critic for Health. “We have learned that the government was aware of this attack over six weeks ago and withheld it from the public. British Columbians deserve to know what advice was John Horgan given and what actions he has taken since he found out.”

LifeLabs, Canada’s largest private diagnostic testing provider, handles 34 per cent of all diagnostic tests for the province’s health care system. Health Minister Adrian Dix admitted that LifeLabs contacted his government about the breach as early as October 28th, which included people’s names, addresses, email addresses, customer logins, passwords, and health numbers.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of the B.C. government’s responsibility to protect British Columbians’ privacy,” said Ben Stewart, BC Liberal Co-Critic for Citizens’ Services. “A wide array of British Columbians’ personal information, including health records, is now digital and cyberattacks are becoming more frequent than ever. How can we be sure that private and public institutions are doing enough to protect our personal information?”

The BC Liberal MLAs are demanding that John Horgan and the NDP outline what measures they will take to ensure the government is not vulnerable to future data breaches and extortion attempts.

“At a time when cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, a better system must be put in place to better preserve the confidentiality of personal info held by both private and public institutions,” concluded Letnick. “The NDP government must act now and give British Columbians the answers and confidence they deserve.”