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health records accidentally auctioned in Canada

health records accidentally auctioned in Canada

Computer tapes sold at government auction contained HIV data.

Computer tapes sold at a government auction in British Columbia, Canada, were found to contain more than 77,000 personal medical records, including information about HIV infection, the Canadian Press reports. The tapes also contained information about substance abuse and mental illness for many of the province's residents. The auction of the tapes was conducted by the British Columbia labor ministry, which is now investigating how the tapes containing the private information were taken from the agency and put up for auction.

The tapes were turned over by the buyer--who wishes to remain anonymous--to the Vancouver Sun newspaper. Tests by computer experts hired by the Sun show there was no effort to erase or encode the confidential health data on the tapes. All of the private health information was easily accessible, the Sun reports.

"I take this very seriously," provincial labor minister Mike de Jong told the Canadian Press. "The release of this very sensitive private information is completely inappropriate and completely unacceptable."

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