EDMONTON – Court documents show Mounties were initially pursuing criminal charges against an Alberta legislature member who admitted to hacking a government health website.
Former NDP MLA Thomas Dang was charged in June under the province’s Health Information Act for illegally attempting to access private information contained in the Alberta Health vaccine portal.
He is scheduled to appear in court July 27 and could face a fine up to $200,000 if convicted.
Documents filed with the court, unsealed Wednesday and first obtained by the CBC, say an officer with the cybercrime investigation team believed a criminal offence — unauthorized use of a computer — had been committed.
Other documents, including search warrants and production orders, suggest RCMP were considering that charge, which carries a maximum 10 years in prison, as late as the end of March.
A spokeswoman for Alberta Justice declined to comment Thursday on the Crown’s decision to pursue a charge under the health act, because the case is before the court.
Dang, who represents Edmonton-South, resigned from the NDP caucus when he became aware of the RCMP investigation in December 2021.
Police investigated after Dang admitted to using his computer to follow up on a tip from a constituent about possible loopholes that were allowing access to people’s private health information on the province’s COVID-19 vaccine website.
He later said that when he ran into roadblocks trying to breach the vaccination site, he used Premier Jason Kenney’s birth date and vaccination dates — both publicly available — which allowed him to crack the site’s privacy safeguards.
A document from the officer, dated March 31, 2022, notes the province launched the vaccine portal to allow people to download their vaccine records in September 2021.
“Upon the website going live, it was flooded with abnormal traffic,” it says. “Many of these requests came through the TOR network, which is a system designed to provide anonymity to a user, hiding their true IP address by using a relay system.
“During this time there were 1.75 million requests using the birth date of Premier Jason Kenney, and a further approximately 50,000 requests using the date of birth of Thomas Dang.”
The document says at least some of the requests were automated and notes those types of attacks are often referred to as a “brute force attack.”
It says several queries were attempted before an email was sent to the Alberta Health director of communications from the Alberta NDP’s director of communications about a potential vulnerability in the vaccine portal.
“A search warrant was executed on the residence of Thomas Dang and a number of computers were seized,” says the document.
“Dang admitted he tested the system and successfully downloaded someone’s record. He stated it was his obligation as an MLA and a cybersecurity professional to check the site for potential flaws and report them to Alberta Health.”
Dang, who could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday, has been sitting in the house as an Independent but has said he wants to return to the NDP caucus.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2022.
— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary
Red Deer South MLA lambastes Premier Kenney for weighing in on the race to replace him
Article submitted by Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan
Kenney, the time for you to be quiet is now
When you are a departing leader of a political party, one of your responsibilities is to build unity. One way of doing so is to stay out of the leadership race to replace you. Jason Kenney promised he was not going to be a “color commentator” in the race, and then proceeded to become one. Kenney misrepresented a platform commitment of Danielle Smith —a leading candidate—sowing division and creating disunity.
While misrepresenting the ideas of others and then attacking the straw men manufactured out of the misrepresentation may be standard practice in a junior high school debate, it’s dishonest and disrespectful.
Kenney called the Alberta Sovereignty Act “nuts” and “nuttier than a squirrel turd”. Is that going to produce unity? In his leadership review, when he called those who disagreed with him “bugs”, “kooks” and “lunatics”, how did that work out
Kenney says the Sovereignty Act would make Alberta the “laughingstock” of Canada. Perhaps we already are.
When Albertans held a provincial referendum and rejected equalization, who did Trudeau appoint as environment minister? He chose Steven Guilbeault, the Greenpeace activist, arrested for climbing on Ralph Klein’s roof when he was away, frightening Klein’s wife who was home alone. I bet Trudeau thought that was funny.
What does Trudeau do with Kenney’s sternly worded letters? Perhaps they are trophies he hangs on the walls.
The premier of Quebec said one of his favorite things about Canada is equalization, so what progress has Kenney made on equalization? None.
The Sovereignty Act seeks to do what Quebec does. Is Quebec a laughingstock?
Kenney says the Sovereignty Act would be a “body blow” to Alberta jobs and the economy and “draw massive investment away”. Isn’t that going to be the result of Trudeau’s new “discussion paper?”
This paper was released in August with a submission deadline in September. It proposes either a new cap-and-trade or carbon tax only on oil and gas development, disproportionately punishing Alberta while sparing Quebec and other provinces that Trudeau bribes for power.
Kenney should consider stopping his straw man attacks and start focusing on Ottawa where he came from. No straw man is required as Ottawa is already responsible for driving away hundreds of billions in investment out of Alberta and thousands of Alberta jobs with it along with more “body blows” to come if we get this imminent new cap and trade or new carbon tax imposed on our natural resources.
Is Kenney working on his latest sternly worded letter?
But wait, under section 92A of Canada’s constitution, isn’t Alberta supposed to have jurisdiction over the development of our natural resources? Isn’t Trudeau again seeking to do indirectly what he cannot do directly? Isn’t this a sneaky,
backdoor, constitutional trojan horse? Isn’t this what the Sovereignty Act is intended to address, to assert constitutional boundaries that Ottawa continually seeks to circumvent, trespass, attack and undermine? When Ottawa abuses its
power, isn’t the Sovereignty Act to be a check and balance?
Yes, a good idea, improperly applied can be detrimental, and if that is the version that Kenney wants to manufacture, attack, and fearmonger, that is his choice.
Properly applied the Sovereignty Act will benefit Alberta, counteracting the commercial uncertainty and chaos from Ottawa by asserting the constitutional boundaries that Ottawa habitually disrespects, seeking to undermine and intrude into
Alberta’s constitutional jurisdiction to develop its oil and gas resources.
Kenney says the Sovereignty Act does not respect the rule of law.
Properly applied the Sovereignty Act supports the rule of law as it asserts Alberta’s constitutional jurisdictions and resists abuses of power emanating out of Ottawa.
Kenney says he “isn’t really following the leadership race”. He is.
Kenney started saying he does not know which candidates are supporting the Sovereignty Act. He knows.
He also knew the deadline for members to participate in the leadership race had ended the day before he chose to improperly misrepresent a platform policy of a leading candidate who is not part of his inner circle.
Great leaders speak the truth in love inspiring the best in those they serve. They do not fearmonger, they do not call names, they do not misrepresent others’ ideas and then attack the straw men they manufactured with their misrepresentations.
It is disappointing to see Kenney failing in his responsibility to build unity. I have faith his successor will do better.
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