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.
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.
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.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
In a finding released by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioner concluded that an ISP was not compliant with PIPEDA by installing video cameras in the workplace for the purposes of security and monitoring productivity of unsupervised employees:
Commissioner's Findings - PIPED Act Case Summary #279: Surveillance of employees at work - July 26, 2004:
"A former employee of an internet service provider believed that the company was acting contrary to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (the Act ) when it installed web cameras to monitor the performance of employees."
In short, the Assistant Commissioner concluded that the cameras were too intrusive and the issues could be addressed by other means, even if those means were substantially more expensive (hiring supervisory staff to be at the site in the evenings and on weekends):
The Assistant Commissioner commented that the underlying purpose for the cameras really appeared to be one of deterrence – deterrence of theft, harassment, malingering, criticism, or other behaviour an employer may not like. She noted that privacy-intrusive measures can always fulfil such objectives at minimal financial cost. The Act, however, demands that the cost to human dignity form part of the equation. Continuous, indiscriminate surveillance of employees, she noted, was based on a lack of trust and treats all individuals with suspicion when the underlying problems may rest with a few individuals or with a management plan that may not be entirely sound. The effect, she commented, of such omnipresent observation was stifling. While it may prevent undesirable behaviour, it also forces the employee to call into question every potential action, every potential comment no matter how benign. The goal of ensuring adherence to the company's vision comes at too high a price to our individual autonomy and freedom.
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