Nova Scotia is renewing its contract with the company in charge of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) portal, with conditions.
Unisys will be offered a one-year extension at a cost of $120,000.
The site was taken offline on April 5, after the government detected a data breach which had allowed the release of social insurance numbers, birth dates, and personal addresses of multiple people.
The new contract will separate control of the public disclosure portion of the site, and Unisys will no longer run that aspect of the portal.
“We didn’t feel that it was an appropriate partnering,” said Internal Services Minister Patricia Arab. “So we’re looking to have something along the lines of our Open Data website.”
That website is run by Socrata. The province says it will sole-source a contract to run the public disclosure portion of the FOIPOP site but will not say whether Socrata is going to be tapped for that work.
Arab says it’s not for her to say whether Unisys fulfilled its contractual obligations with the province, saying she’s looking forward to hearing recommendations from two ongoing investigations by the province’s auditor general and its information and privacy commissioner.
“One year hopefully will give us the time for the (FOIPOP) site to see how we’re going to proceed,” Arab said.
“The back end, which is the part that was renewed, allows our (FOIPOP) staff to continue to process requests in a more efficient way. Instead of manually, they have the ability, the software to collect the information, redact if necessary and then get it out to the requestor.”
The province says Unisys and a third party are still testing the electronic filing portion of the site and there is no timeline for it to be back online. There are no timelines set out in the new contract either.
“Now that we’re looking at a new way to release public information, I hope to get that up as soon as possible and I hope to have an update on how it will be moving forward in the next week or so,” Arab said.
The contract extension is in development and hasn’t been signed. The new version of the site will likely cost more, though: the $120,000 contract with Unisys is on par with what the company was paid last year, and another contract will be awarded for public disclosure.