Court documents detail RCMP hacking investigation into Alberta politician

·1 min read

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.

It's not clear why the Crown ultimately decided to pursue a charge under the health act.

Dang 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.

Dang 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.

The Canadian Press

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