IT security lessons from Chrysler’s data loss

The disappearance of a DaimlerChrysler Financial Services Canada Inc. data tape – which contained customer names, addresses and social insurance numbers – can serve as a strong warning for enterprise data protection, analysts say.

The auto giant’s lending division recently told the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada that sensitive personal information from thousands of Canadian auto customers had gone missing in transit from Farmington Hills, Mich. to a Quebec credit agency. The mainframe data tape, which was shipped via United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), has been missing since early March.

A spokesperson for federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart told ComputerWorld Canada Wednesday that its office has received about 50 inquires from individuals that might have been affected by the data loss. The commissioner’s office said it is still determining the next course of action.

“We’re communicating to Chrysler directing to determine actually what took place and what’s being done to remedy the situation,” spokesperson Anne-Marie Hayden said. “I can’t say for sure whether we’ve had a formal compliant from an individuals or not, but that may well take place in the future.”

Hayden did not mention UPS specifically, but said the commissioner’s office would be discussing the matter with all other relevant parties involved.

Chrysler Financial Services Canada could not be reached for comment at press time.

The case draws parallels to a major Canadian data loss incident last year, where CIBC’s mutual fund subsidiary Talvest Mutual Funds lost a backup drive containing personal and financial data of 470,000 individuals while it was in transit between Montr



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