I’m writing to you, and Cabinet Members, regarding the FOIPOP issue that’s been in the news. Based on the emergency debate today, and your responses in question period, I think it’s very clear that you have all been briefed incorrectly at best, and lied to at worst.
The issue at hand is not that the server was “hacked,” or “breached.” A server meant for publishing public FOIPOP documents was used for publishing *all* FOIPOP documents. At it’s core, this is a very simple and likely accidental leak of confidential documents.
Is it a crime to download publicly disclosed documents, from a public server, run by the Freedom of Information department, with no authentication, with no security, and with no access control? The answer is simply no. To be clear, the 19-year-old kid did nothing wrong.
It’s clear this person was somewhat technical, having scripted the download process. If they had any malintent whatsoever, they would have made some attempt to hide their identity. The fact that they were arrested so quickly based on an IP address means they didn’t.
Comments were made that this person *must* have been looking for personal information. Why would anyone assume that 4% of the documents on a public server contain confidential information?
The province is not the victim here. The citizens who entrusted their personal information to the government are. The kid who was charged with an offence under the anti-terrorism act for archiving public documents is.
Your government made a mistake. A serious mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. That should have been the only story here. Unfortunately you have taken an absurd position, and by doing so committed a grave injustice. I’m calling on you, as public servants, to do the right thing and investigate this issue for yourself.
I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.