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Children's ministry uses insecure computer system too

The British Columbia auditor general's report this week on the insecurity of electronic records held by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority may be a warning to other public bodies too.

The PARIS system that Auditor General John Doyle found had “serious security weaknesses” is also used by the ministry of children and family development, New Democratic Party health critic Adrian Dix pointed out.

“A number of years ago I raised questions in the house about the PARIS system which at the time was being adopted by the ministry of children and family development,” said Dix. “The ministry of children's answer was, 'well you know it's working successfully in Vancouver Coastal Health.'”

Following Doyle's report, Dix said, that's “clearly not the case.”

“I have not reviewed it yet but we're aware that there is some minor connection between PARIS and MCFD,” said MCFD minister Mary Polak. “We don't have a significant amount of our software work conducted on PARIS, but there is some.”

Doyle found VCHA gave unrestricted access to patient's personal information, including records about mental health and addiction, to too many people. Nor was the authority able to detect or prevent unauthorized access or attacks, he said.

He encouraged “other organizations in the health industry and similar sectors to review the report, as our findings and recommendations should be useful to them as well.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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