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MPs CONCERNED ABOUT COMPUTER SECURITY

Source: Toronto Sun

Posted on February 21, 2011

Liberal MP John McKay says he's never been told his office computers have been hacked but is concerned sensitive constituents' files, especially those of immigrants and their families, could leak out to foreign interests.

Mckay suggested Friday the Board of Internal Economy - the administrative body for the House of Commons - or the government operations committee, which he chairs, should study the issue.

"At least get a briefing on, not only the protections that we have in place, but the level of threat, and then have some analysis as to whether the security that we currently have would meet those levels of threat," he told reporters.

The office of the Speaker of the House of Commons' would not confirm or deny reports security breaches have occurred. Spokeswoman Heather Bradley said she was "not aware of an incident." "We take cyber security really seriously and we work closely with our security partners, but for security reasons we do not comment on incidents - ever, " she said.

Former Liberal MP David Kilgour suggested MPs files would be a jackpot for foreign governments. "Lots and lots of things would be of interest to other governments that do not worry about rule of law or respect for human dignity. If I was an MP, I would be extremely concerned about ... what could have gone out to the wrong sets of eyes," he said.

"MPs should be frantic about it and their constituents who have confided in them in good faith, and no doubt been told by the MP that things would be treated in the outmost confidence, a lot of them, would be concerned, too," Kilgour said.

Immigration and refugee claims, as well as any information about political dissidents or other groups, could be of interest, he suggested.

Conservative MP Gordon O'Connor, a member of the Board, said the committee, to his knowledge, has never discussed hacking. "Nope, nope," he responded.

O'Connor said he was "not aware" and did not know any details of an attack on computers in the House of Commons.

Liberal MP Mario Silva, said he was warned by his staff to be careful of emails asking for passwords but said he wasn't aware of any security breaches.

"I have confidence in the system that we have in place on the Hill and hopefully we have good security systems, but nothing is foolproof so if there are governments or actors out there who are hacking into government computers it is quite alarming and troubling and we need to take all necessary precautions," he said.




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