By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan
No it’s not Chinese or Russian hackers trying to influence elections. A candidate in the Ontario province elections in Canada has resigned following allegations he may have stolen data from his former employer to further his party’s campaign.
Simmer Sandhu, a Progressive Conservative candidate, previously worked at 407 ETR, a company that owns and operates the 407 express toll highway in Canada. On May 16, 407 ETR announced it was directly contacting approximately 60,000 customers to advise that their account name, mailing address and, in some instances, phone numbers had been stolen from 407 ETR’s office in the past year. The company made it clear the incident is being investigated as an “inside theft of data”.
The highway is in Ontario, and also runs near Mr Sandhu’s electoral district of Brampton East. Mr Sandhu worked for the company for nine years before becoming involved in politics. It has not been confirmed whether Mr Sandhu is part of the data theft investigation, although he has denied the allegations but stood aside from the election.
Insider theft or insider errors in our experience count for far more beaches than external government forces in general data breaches, but in the political sphere this is a new one!