PC can­di­date re­signs after 407 data theft

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FORUM - TOM BLACKWELL

TORONTO • An em­ployee of On­tario’s 407 pri­vate free­way quit sud­denly Wed­nes­day as a Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date in next month’s elec­tion, barely an hour after the high­way con­firmed that in­for­ma­tion on 60,000 cus­tomers had been leaked through an “in­ter­nal theft.”

Sim­mer Sandhu, the can­di­date for Bramp­ton East, said in an on­line state­ment that he had re­cently been made aware of anony­mous al­lega- tions against him “per­tain­ing to both my work life and my nom­i­na­tion cam­paign.”

“Th­ese al­le­ga­tions are to­tally base­less. I ab­so­lutely deny them,” he said on both Twit­ter and Face­book. “I will vig­or­ously de­fend my­self and rep­u­ta­tion and I am con­fi­dent I will be cleared.”

But he said it would be im­pos­si­ble to con­tinue as a can­di­date while do­ing so and that the elec­tion is too im­por­tant “to get caught up in the is­sues sur­round­ing any one per­son.”

A cached ver­sion of his elec­tion web­site says Sandhu has worked at 407 ETR the last nine years, most re­cently as a lit­i­ga­tion an­a­lyst.

“Sim­mer Sandhu pro­vided his res­ig­na­tion to the party and the party ac­cepted it. We will an­nounce a can­di­date in short order,” Melissa Lants­man, a spokes­woman for PC Leader Doug Ford, said Wed­nes­day night.

The 407’s op­er­a­tor said ear­lier Wed­nes­day it is no­ti­fy­ing 60,000 cus­tomers that in­for­ma­tion was di­vulged through an “in­ter­nal theft” of names, ad­dresses and phone num­bers.

Lo­cal po­lice and fed­eral and pro­vin­cial pri­vacy agen­cies have also been no­ti­fied, said Kevin Sack, a spokesman for the 407 ETR Con­ces­sion Co. Sack said he could not spec­u­late on how the in­for­ma­tion might have been used. The data did not in­clude fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion such as credit cards or per­sonal de­tails like car li­cence num­bers and cus­tomers’ trip his­tory on the high­way, Sack stressed in a state­ment. And he said there does not ap­pear to have been any ex­ter­nal at­tack of the com­puter sys­tem.

The risk of the in­for­ma­tion be­ing used for iden­tity theft or other fi­nan­cial harm is slim, but the 407 own­ers will of­fer free credit mon­i­tor­ing and iden­ti­tytheft pro­tec­tion for a year to af­fected cus­tomers, they said.

Na­tional Post has seen what ap­pears to be some of the pur­loined in­for­ma­tion, which sug­gests it was at one point in the hands of a com­pany called D-Me­dia. The name ap­pears in the prop­er­ties of the Ex­cel file un­der the head­ing “last saved by.”

D-Me­dia is linked to Snover Dhillon, an or­ga­nizer who helped sev­eral would-be PC can­di­dates re­cruit mem­bers to win nom­i­na­tions.

Dhillon, an as­so­ciate of for­mer leader Pa­trick Brown, said Wed­nes­day he knew noth­ing about the 407 data theft.

Asked if he or his firm might have used the in­for­ma­tion, Dhillon said he didn’t re­mem­ber.

“When we do the cam­paigns, in the nom­i­na­tions, some­times peo­ple, can­di­dates, give the data, but I don’t know where it came from,” he said.

“We don’t know where they got it from.”

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