New freedom-of-information website expected to be ready this spring

The Nova Scotia government expects its online freedom-of-information website to be fully operational again some time this spring, about two years after it was forced to shut down.

On Wednesday, the government announced AllNS. Inc. has been selected from a tender process to rebuild the system that came crashing down in April 2018 after it was discovered someone was able to download the entire contents of the website, including private information that was supposed to be redacted.

Since the site went down, people have not been able to file or pay for freedom-of-information requests online. The government created a temporary website so it could continue posting completed requests online two weeks after they're disclosed to the recipient.

The government faced a public relations nightmare when the site went down as a result of a 19-year-old who downloaded the site's entire contents as a matter of data collection.

Although members of the government, including the premier, initially presented the situation as a hack, they eventually walked back their language and tone. The young man was arrested after a team of police officers raided his family's home, but Halifax Regional Police ultimately determined there were no grounds to lay a charge.