The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

New rules for reverse phone directory lookup 

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has just produced guidelines regulating how incumbent local carriers can offer reverse directory assistance. (Instead of asking for a name and locality to get the number, this service provides name and location when given the phone number.) The issue has a couple of privacy issues, both pro and con. On one hand, it provides personal information that the individual may not want handed out, based solely on their phone number. On the other hand, the service may give people more information about who is calling them, giving them greater control over intrusions into their seclusion. Hard call. According to this article in ITBusiness.Ca, they've hit the balance by only providing name and general locality, not home address. And, presumably, unlisted numbers will not be included in the directory.

CRTC's reverse directory search policy addresses privacy advocates' concerns

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently established a framework for the provision of Reverse Search Directory Assistance (RSDA) offered by incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs). RSDA is an expanded directory assistance service that provides the listed name and address associated with a specific telephone number.

The Commission has decided to allow ILECs to perform information searches when presented with telephone numbers under certain conditions.

As part of the public process leading to the current CRTC decision, the ILECs stated that none of objectives of the Telecommunications Act would be adversely affected if they provided RSDA. On the other hand, groups such as the Anti-Poverty Organization and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, argued that this service contravenes the privacy protection provided by the Act.


Because of the significant safety concerns over providing street addresses, the Commission decided the only information that can be provided by RSDA searches are name and general locality, such as city, town or postal code.

There were some concerns expressed that RSDA service could be a valuable asset to commercial entities involved with telemarketing. They could use the service to determine the names and addresses of those calling for information about products and services without their knowledge or consent.

To address this issue, the new regulations prohibit the use of RSDA for compiling and updating telemarketing lists. ..."

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