A Cambridge woman is speaking out against  what she calls a gross incompetence.

Her frustration and anger comes from the loss of personal information stored on a USB stick belonging to a government employee.

Debra Briese is one of the five thousand Canadians who were notified their personal information was missing. “My stuff is on there and other parties’ information is on there, too.”  She’s launched a complaint with Canada’s privacy watchdog that has promised to investigate the data breach.

Names, addresses, birthdates and social insurance numbers are among the information stored on USB key.

The privacy commissioner’s office says the key belonged to an employee of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The loss was reported internally on November 16th but did not reach the Privacy Commissioner’s office until December 21st.

“They knew in November and we are just finding out now?” Briese says.

The Privacy Commissioner says she’s received hundreds of calls and complaints and will now launch an investigation.

Some privacy experts say this incident highlights exactly why people should not use USB keys for such important information.

In an interview with CTV News, M.P. Peter Braid says the government is determined not to let this happen again. “We are giving it the level of concern that it certainly warrants and deserves and we will take every step to ensure that this type of incident does not occur in the future.”

Human Resources Canada says they are continuing their search. For now, officials say they have no reason to believe the information has been used for fraudulent purposes.

Briese has contacted her bank and police but worries years later, when the story is no longer making headlines someone, somewhere could have access to her personal information.