“The intent and principles of PIPEDA line up almost perfectly with genealogical emphasis about privacy protection and the ethics surrounding that, but the genealogical societies do not seem to be aware that it could be a fantastic tool in ensuring those ethics are followed and are caught up instead in determining whether or not they are bound by the legislation. In my opinion PIPEDA needs to be embraced and it's principles entrenched into genealogical societies' policies and practices.”

September 7, 2013
G. Alvin Murray, Certified Saskatchewan Instructor, CCSG


The following was taken from R. v. Dyment, [1988] 2 SCR 417, as reproduced at http://canlii.ca/t/1ftc6:

“22. Finally, there is privacy in relation to information. This too is based on the notion of the dignity and integrity of the individual. As the Task Force put it (p. 13): "This notion of privacy derives from the assumption that all information about a person is in a fundamental way his own, for him to communicate or retain for himself as he sees fit." In modern society, especially, retention of information about oneself is extremely important. We may, for one reason or another, wish or be compelled to reveal such information, but situations abound where the reasonable expectations of the individual that the information shall remain confidential to the persons to whom, and restricted to the purposes for which it is divulged, must be protected. Governments at all levels have in recent years recognized this and have devised rules and regulations to restrict the uses of information collected by them to those for which it was obtained; see, for example, the Privacy Act, S.C. 1980-81-82-83, c. 111.

23. One further general point must be made, and that is that if the privacy of the individual is to be protected, we cannot afford to wait to vindicate it only after it has been violated. . . . Invasions of privacy must be prevented, and where privacy is outweighed by other societal claims, there must be clear rules setting forth the conditions in which it can be violated.” (Emphasis added)

From http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1997/1997canlii358/1997canlii358.html, at paragraph 67, in the case of Dagg v. Canada (Minister of Finance), [1997] 2 SCR 403, we learn that the Supreme Court of Canada also invites us to consider R. v. Duarte, 1990 CanLII 150 (SCC), [1990] 1 S.C.R. 30, at p. 46 (“privacy may be defined as the right of the individual to determine for himself when, how, and to what extent he will release personal information about himself”); (and) R. v. Osolin, 1993 CanLII 54 (SCC), [1993] 4 S.C.R. 595, at pp. 613-15 (per L’Heureux-Dubé J., dissenting); Westin, supra, at p. 7 (“[p]rivacy is the claim of individuals . . . to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others”); (and) Charles Fried, “Privacy” (1968), 77 Yale L.J. 475, at p. 483 (“[p]rivacy . . . is control over knowledge about oneself”).


The design of this site is to readily afford access to ‘research tools’ that may be used to answer the question which asks if the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society (SGS), and certain other genealogical societies, are or are not limited by the terms and provisions of The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) when indiscriminately collecting and selling personal information about those “in the land of the living.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A "similar fact" PIPEDA Case Summary

PIPEDA Case Summary #2009-013 — Publisher collected and used e-mail addresses for marketing without consent — [Section 2; Principles 4.3 and 4.3.1; Paragraphs 7(1)(d) and 7(2)(c.1); Regulations 1(e)] — Issued June 2, 2009 — found at https://www.priv.gc.ca/cf-dc/2009/2009_013_0602_e.asp — “The company contended that (certain) e-mail addresses were publicly available.” // “The Assistant Privacy Commissioner established that business e-mails are personal information as defined by the Act, and as determined in an earlier complaint, and, furthermore, that all but one of the e-mail addresses in question could not be considered publicly available as defined in the Regulations.” // “The company contended that even if the complainant’s e-mail addresses could be considered personal information, paragraphs 7(1)(d) and 7(2)(c.1) of the Act would then apply. These paragraphs permit the collection or use of personal information without knowledge or consent if the information is publicly available and is specified in the Regulations. Subsection 1(e) provides that personal information can be considered publicly available when it appears in a publication, including a magazine, book or newspaper, in printed or electronic form, that is available to the public, and where the individual has provided the information. The organization believed that the e-mail addresses in question were provided by the complainant on a publicly available source, and a web site. In the organization’s view, it could therefore collect and use the addresses without the complainant’s knowledge or consent.” // “The Assistant Commissioner . . . examined the argument that the complainant’s e-mail addresses were publicly available, as specified by Regulation 1(e).   She determined that the complainant’s various e-mail addresses were not captured under the Regulations and could not, therefore, be considered publicly available information. However, she noted one exception: an e-mail address that appeared on a web site devoted to a publication of which the complainant had been the editor.

[Put otherwise, in all cases but one, the information that was publicly available was not made available by the complainant, so could not gathered, used or disclosed unless consent was given by that person.  I contend that that principle also applies to genealogical societies that, currently, indiscriminately gather, use and disclose person information, about living individuals from obituaries, local history books, and other sources of that kind.  All of which I share with my hopes that I will be corrected if I am wrong.]

Much more will be found by following the link that is provided, above.

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