OTTAWA – Ottawa police are investigating after documents containing personal and confidential information in a suspicious death investigation were accidentally released in an email.
On Sunday morning, documents containing names, phone numbers and statements from witnesses and details of the case were included in an email to members of the media.
Duty Insp. Trish Ferguson said the documents were from an investigation into the suspicious death of a man who was found in a hotel room on Saturday night.
“It went out to the media over email, so it was a pretty limited distribution, but still something that is serious,” Ferguson said.
Ottawa police sent another email shortly after stating that the documents were unintentionally sent to the media email list and they asked that the emails be deleted.
Police warned that if the information was published it could jeopardize the safety of the individuals and could compromise the ongoing investigation.
Ferguson said the police force is conducting an internal investigation to determine how the documents were released and will be notifying the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
She said the police force’s chief information officer will be handling the incident, and that the force is also in the process of notifying witnesses and anyone involved in the investigation that their personal information was accidentally released.
“To my knowledge, we haven’t had a breach of this type before,” said Ferguson. “We’re going through internally to figure out where this lies, who is responsible and what actions will be taken.”