Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you all for taking the time to come here today.
Ms. Boisjoly, I was struck by one point in your reply to Mr. Drouin. You said that a personal data breach does not lead to identity theft. That is basically what brings us here today. Canadians want to avoid identity theft, of course; it’s their main concern. I have some questions about it.
You said that people should report suspicious activities associated with a social insurance number. I am a federal lawmaker and I don’t know what a suspicious activity associated with a social insurance number is. I have never been a victim of fraud, thank heavens, and the same goes for the people around me, touch wood. However, I do know people who have been victims. They find out when they receive a bill for a cellphone they do not have, or for a Canadian Tire credit card that they never applied for. They end up with debts and obligations that are not theirs.
Can you tell me exactly what a suspicious activity associated with a social insurance number is?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
As for getting a new social insurance number, I have a little difficulty understanding. Basically, the argument is that it becomes complicated for people. In principle, a social insurance number is issued for reasons of efficiency. A unique identifier makes transactions with government agencies easier.
Forgive me if this analogy may not be an exact one. If I see a problem with my credit card today, the bank or the company that issued it is still able to transfer a balance or to link the legitimate transactions on my credit card that has been used fraudulently and the new one it sent to me.
Why would a financial institution be able to do that, while you are not able to say that someone’s social insurance number has been compromised and to give them a new number? A former employer, for example, might have to take care of questions about that person’s pension. Knowing that is the same person, why are you not able to link the previous social insurance number to a new one? You may perhaps have to do some additional checking, given that the number has been compromised. But I am still having a little difficulty understanding why you can’t do it.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
I am sorry to interrupt you, but, if I lose my credit card, it does not necessarily mean that it has been stolen. It may have fallen down a sewer somewhere, meaning that it will never be seen or used again. I would still call my bank, Visa or whomever, to ask them to cancel the card. I would still keep checking and I would have some peace of mind, knowing that I am protected.
Why not use the same logic for victims of breaches of personal data, especially ones that are all over the news? To make sure they are protected, people want to dot all the i's and cross all the t's that they can. They change their credit cards and everything, as they do when they lose their wallets. Why not proceed in the same way?
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