| OTTAWA, Sept 19
OTTAWA, Sept 19 Statistics Canada data is safely
stored and outsiders have no chance of accessing it, a senior
official said on Monday after the chief statistician quit in
protest over concerns about the agency's independence.
Canada's Liberal government, which took power last November,
is trying to resolve a number of major technological problems it
had inherited from the previous Conservative administration.
These include the centralization of data services under Shared
Services Canada that prompted Wayne Smith to resign last Friday
as head of Statistics Canada.
Smith, the country's second top statistician to quit in
recent years, had complained for months that Shared Services
Canada held an effective veto over many decisions of StatsCan,
which produces monthly reports on market-moving topics such as
jobs and international trade.
Shared Services Canada President Ron Parker told a media
briefing that his department's enterprise data centers provide
adequate data security.
"SSC employees cannot access the statistically sensitive
data ... and have no visibility into the contents of the data as
it is encrypted and access to the data center is controlled by
Statistics Canada," he added.
Data center employees are obliged to have security
clearances, must take an oath to obey the Statistics Canada Act,
and can be prosecuted if found to have leaked information,
The maximum penalty for improperly divulging StatsCan
information is a C$5,000 ($3,800) fine or a five-year jail term.
Asked twice whether Smith had been wrong, Parker did not
respond directly, saying, "The services we provide are very
solid and state of the art and much improved overall."
Reuters was not immediately able to reach Smith on Monday
($1 = 1.3196 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Richard Chang)