Canadian police drop charges against man who downloaded public documents

Police in Nova Scotia, Canada have dropped criminal charges against a 19-year-old man who mass-downloaded documents from a government Freedom of Information portal, CBC reported.

The man reportedly wrote a script to increment the number at the end of a URL to download around 7,000 documents from the government website.

Around 250 of the documents were not properly redacted, resulting in police pursuing criminal charges when they were alerted to the “breach”.

The man’s lawyer said there was strong rhetoric at the time characterising the incident as a hack.

If information about the incident was transferred from the provincial government to the police in the same tone, it may have resulted in the response seen in this case, said the lawyer.

He said the police should have been told that the information was accessed 11 other times and was posted on a publicly-available website with no security precautions.

A police spokesperson said that after an investigation, they determined there were no grounds to lay charges. The charge carried a possible 10-year prison sentence.

Now read: Google and Microsoft fight “hack-back” law in Georgia

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Canadian police drop charges against man who downloaded public documents