A Toronto-based law firm is looking into a potential class action suit against Algonquin two months after a privacy breach incident resulted in 1,400 prospective Algonquin students’ personal information and entrance test results being emailed out.
In March, the Times spoke with Ottawa-based lawyer, Michael Crystal from Spiteri & Ursulak LLP, who was also looking into the incident for a potential class action suit. However, Crystal did not respond to the Times request for an update, and now a new firm, Flaherty McCarthy Litigation Counsel, has taken the case.
An online CFRA story posted on May 10 stated that the firm is consulting with some of the affected students and anticipates commencing the suit, seeking $100-million in damages.
Although Flaherty McCarthy has an office in Ottawa, the case has been taken on by Toronto partner, Sean A. Brown, who confirmed in an email to the Times that the firm is investigating the Algonquin privacy breach but have not yet commenced filing papers for a lawsuit.
Although the incident in March was considered to be relatively minor, it wasn’t the first time the college had experienced a massive privacy breach.
The most recent incident occurred nearly a year after Algonquin’s computer server was hacked, compromising 1,200 Bachelor of information technology and Bachelor of Science in nursing students’ personal information.
Crystal told the Times in March that typically with incidents involving a college or university, the school would pay into a fund to be dispersed among students impacted by any fallout.
However, according to Craig Delmage, who is the senior manager of Information Security and Data Privacy at Algonquin, this wasn’t the outcome with the 2015 incident, but the college did take appropriate action to make things right with those who were affected.
“In order to assist the students impacted in this security incident, the college offered no-charge identity theft prevention and recovery services for a period of two years,” said Delmage.“Many impacted students accepted that offer. Those services will still be available for a little while longer should a student reconsider and wish to sign up to them.”
But as for Spiteri & Ursulak LLP’s investigation into the incident that occurred in March, the college has little to say.
“I read that report. At this point in time it’s speculation,” said Scott Anderson, Algonquin’s executive director of Communications, Marketing, and External Relations.
“I can’t speculate on what could or couldn’t happen.”