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Leak at Desjardins: COVID-19 has “slowed down” the survey” /></p>
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<p class=The Sûreté du Québec estimates that it will have completed its investigation file in the summer of 2024. (Archive photo)

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Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text .

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) estimates that it will have completed its investigation into the massive data leak of Desjardins customers in the summer of 2024, five years after the public disclosure of this major breach. One of the obstacles to the process: the pandemic of recent years.

Since the start of the SQ investigation, dozens of Court authorizations have been requested to document how the personal data of 4.2 million individual members and at least 173,000 business customers ended up in malicious hands.

In two requests filed in recent months aimed at extending the detention of the seized computer equipment, the SQ considers that it needs a final delay before submitting a request to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) to initiate proceedings.

I am of the opinion that it will take me at least 12 months to complete all my obligations in order to complete the investigation, wrote the sergeant in June Catherine Gohier.

The latter also puts forward numerous explanations allowing us to better understand why the investigation extended over five years.

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ELSE ON INFO: Evacuations and rivers under surveillance in the greater Quebec region< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The health emergency decree slowed down the investigation plan, including computer analyses, searches, drafting of judicial authorizations, reports the one who acts as principal investigator in the case. On several occasions, witness meetings had to be postponed due to COVID-19 symptoms.

Identifying the individuals who control seized computer devices containing fraudulent data represents a challenge for investigators, adds Sergeant Gohier. The use of multiple aliases and encrypted applications complicates the task of identifying the real people who control these aliases.

In a recent request from the SQ, we understand that the Laboratory of Forensic Sciences and Forensic Medicine was called upon to identify the voices.

At least five investigators are entirely dedicated to the analysis of computer and documentary items, specifies one of the documents of more than 100 pages.

The Improvement in the equipment owned by the SQ's technological division made it possible to make several attempts to unlock certain items to ensure a complete analysis of the elements seized during the investigation. These tools made it possible in May 2022 to unlock two other IT items.

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At least five investigators are working to analyze the “computer and documentary items,” according to one of the documents consulted. (File photo)

More than 120 computer items were seized as part of the investigation.

Sergeant Gohier specifies that preparing the disclosure of the evidence requires tedious redaction work in order to protect in particular several innocent third parties contained in the seized items.

The documents also reveal that the SQ met around forty victims of identity theft and fraud.

Other meetings with Desjardins employees are planned to complete the analyzes resulting from the searches at Desjardins.

The SQ investigation could therefore end in 2024 and then lead to charges in the case of the massive data theft revealed in June 2019.

The objective of this major police investigation is to uncover an identity theft scheme affecting several million people, members of the Desjardins Movement, and trafficking in identifying information which is likely to lead to repeated fraud schemes.

A quote from Extract from the request for extension of the detention of property seized by the SQ, June 2023

This is a suspicious transaction that occurred in Laval in December 2018 which had aroused the suspicions of Desjardins, who filed a complaint with the Laval Police Department.

The SQ investigation began in June 2019. It concerns possible offenses of identity theft, trafficking in identifying information, fraud over $5,000 and offenses for the benefit of #x27;a criminal organization.

To date, the investigation involves 11 subjects and 14 companies.

A former Desjardins employee is suspected of stealing the data of millions of customers, but he is not yet facing any charges.

A $200 million out-of-court settlement was reached in December 2021.

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