February 13, 2018 4:30 pm
Updated: February 13, 2018 10:01 pm

STSCO accidentally posts students’ private information on social media sites

The Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario says it accidentally released contact information of students last week.

CHEX News file
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A student transportation company based in Peterborough says it accidentally released students’ private information on social media last week.

Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario (STSCO) said that on Feb. 7 staff – while posting an update regarding bus operator negotiations on its Facebook and Twitter sites – “inadvertently” posted an internal staff training document.

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“This document contained a link that allowed access to student contact and busing information,” said a statement posted Tuesday on STSCO’s website.

STSCO CAO Joel Sloggett tells CHEX News a “small number of files” were accessed where private information such as date of birth, address and busing information were made available.

“The people who did it, they looked at their own students and then inadvertently and opened other student information files,” said Sloggett. “They realized this is not good and contacted us.”

Sloggett says website tracking indicates five students’ records were accessed. Once staff were aware of the error, the postings and a PDF file were removed and access to the database was closed.

The data was online for about 90 minutes, he said.

“The address can’t be ever accessed again and everything is password protected,” said Sloggett. “From now on we will be double-checking before posting. We won’t be doing anymore attachments to Facebook or twitter and will be redirecting to our website.”

STSCO is responsible for busing for three school boards: The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, the Peterborough Northumberland Victoria and Clarington School Board and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, a French Catholic schoolboard.

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STSCO says it “sincerely apologizes for the error.”

“We want to assure our families that we took immediate action to correct this issue and have put measures in place to prevent it from happening again.”

Sloggett says Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner officer has been contacted regarding the incident.

“We can’t let this ever happen again,” he said.

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