The federal bureaucracy’s reliance on wireless technology, including BlackBerries and WiFi networks, is jeopardizing the confidentiality of the personal information that Canadians entrust to the government.

The annual report of Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, released Tuesday, included an audit of five federal departments responsible for storing many details of the lives of private citizens. Ms. Stoddart found that none has fully assessed the threats posed by wireless communication.

Her report says government employees are not required to safeguard information when they use cellphones and other wireless devices, nor are most of them instructed on the best ways of doing so.

None of the five organizations audited – Health Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – require the encryption of the data stored on the smart phones used by their staff...