Court documents detail RCMP investigation into Alberta politician hack

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EDMONTON — Court documents show the RCMP initially laid criminal charges against a member of the Alberta legislature who admitted to hacking into a government health website.

Former NDP MP Thomas Dang was charged in June under the province’s Health Information Act with unlawfully attempting to access private information contained in Alberta Health’s immunization portal.

He is due in court on July 27 and could face a fine of up to $200,000 if found guilty.

Court documents, unsealed on Wednesday and first obtained by the CBC, indicate that an agent from the Cybercrime Investigation Team believed that a criminal offense – the unauthorized use of a computer – had been committed.

Other documents, including search warrants and production orders, suggest the RCMP was considering the charge, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, until the end of March.

It is unclear why the Crown ultimately decided to pursue a charge under the Health Act.

Dang resigned from the NDP caucus when he learned of the RCMP investigation in December 2021.

Police investigated after Dang admitted to using his computer to act on a constituent’s tip about possible loopholes that allowed access to people’s private health information on the COVID-19 vaccine website of the province.

He later said that when he ran into roadblocks trying to get into the vaccination site, he used Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s date of birth and vaccination dates – both publicly available – which allowed him to break the privacy guarantees of the site.

Dang sat at home as an independent, but said he wanted to return to the NDP caucus.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2022.

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