Editorial: Questions linger in Saanich spyware case

Revelations of former IT staffer will likely prove an inconvenience for District of Saanich officials

The revelations of Jon Woodland will likely prove an inconvenience for District of Saanich officials. Woodland, a 16-year veteran at the District and current Information Technology manager at the Township of Esquimalt, is providing some valuable insight into the happenings behind the scenes in relation to the Spector 360 fiasco.

Woodland says he helped co-ordinate a meeting between Mayor Richard Atwell and a current IT staffer at the District in December to notify Atwell of the spyware’s installation.

Woodland told the News he finds being in the public eye uncomfortable, but he’s more concerned about his friends being penalized if they come forward with relevant information in the public interest.

Municipal councillors say there’s no conspiracy here, that the “mistake” of installing a piece of software that contravened privacy law needs only a structural fix. The IT and legislative departments simply failed to communicate with one another, they say.

It sounds reassuring, but it doesn’t yet answer the odd rush to install the software. B.C. Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham’s office was told by District staff that they were expedient with the installation because Atwell is tech-savvy and the new mayor may have otherwise quickly identified security deficiencies. But the failure to explicitly notify Atwell about the spyware seems to throw a wrench into that explanation. If staff were looking to impress Atwell, why wasn’t the Spector 360 program trumpeted as an advancement in digital security, at least internally?

Key questions are not yet answered in this investigation. Wait to see if council makes any further demands for information on April 13 or if they consider the issue fully resolved.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich calls for applicants to join Housing Strategy task force

Council to appoint ‘diverse group’ to tackle housing challenges

North Saanich submits ALR exclusion despite large opposition

Opposed North Saanich residents now shift their attention to ALC after 6-1 council vote

B.C. ends short experiment with growler fills at restaurants

Province extends take-out sales of six-packs, wine

VicPD seeking witnesses for fatal crash on Hillside Avenue

A pedestrian was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she later died

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Feds fund safe drug supply pilot program for Cowichan

The opioid overdose crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health crises

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

Most Read