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A hard drive that contained confidential details about hundreds of thousands of insurance company clients has been recovered by Canadian police.

The paperback-sized 30-gigabyte (Western Digital Caviar 307AA) drive, which went missing from the supposedly secure facility of ISM Canada, an IBM subsidiary on January 16, was found with the data it contained overwritten early last week.

Police believe an employee of Regina, Saskatchewan ISM Canada stole the drive for personal use, according to reports by local paper The Regina Leader-Post.

A 41-year old (unnamed) man is due to appear in court charged with possession of stolen property in connection with the alleged offence. Other charges may follow.

The drive originally contained files of thousands of files citizens held by Saskatchewan government departments and utilities SaskTel and SaskPower.

Also taken were files from 650,000 Investors Group clients and 180,000 Co-operators Life customers, The Regina Leader-Post reports.

Following the drive's disappearance there were widespread fears that the data which included names, addresses, social insurance numbers, mothers' maiden names and bank account details of the insurance clients affected might end up in the hands of identity thieves.

Although the circumstances of the recovery of the drive are damping down these fears there's still widespread anger over the incident. A class action law-suit against the Saskatchewan government remains underway, The Globe and Mail reports. ®

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