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, March 29, 2005

Putting together the pieces 

I teach Internet and Media Law at Dalhousie Law School. Last night we had a guest speaker, Lisa Taylor, a CBC journalist and law school grad. One of the topics discussed was publication bans and how they are inadvertently compromised when different media outlets choose to disclose limited -- but different -- information. This got me thinking about other ways of piecing together information.

A while ago, I blogged about an article in the Halifax paper related to stores leaving card numbers unobscured on receipts (PIPEDA and Canadian Privacy Law: Article: Who has your number?). I've noticed that more and more stores are omitting many of the digits on debit card and credit card receipts.

While emptying the loads of junk from my pockets at the end of the day, I glanced at the pile of papers I had accumulated in the previous twenty four hours. I was happy to see that all of the stores I had visited had blocked out digits of my card numbers, presumably to protect their customers. When I took a closer look, I noticed that they are completely inconsistent in how they do it. Some leave only the first four and last four digits. Some omit the last digits. So if you took my little pile of papers, you could completely recreate my debit card number. Hm... Perhaps we need a little consistency in how we protect identities. If I had emptied my pockets into the garbage, anybody trolling through my trash for personal information would be able to get the card numbers. And expiry dates for credit cards. Perhaps the debit terminal manufacturers and distributors could get together and figure this out.

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3/29/2005 07:51:00 AM  :: (1 comments)  ::  Backlinks
I noticed the inconsistency with credit card numbers, also, not so long ago. I have been shredding all those slips for a while now "just in case" before putting them into the garbage or recycling bin and am glad I have been! Even so, I am sure someone could recreate them if they wanted to--will need to upgrade to a better shredder, I think. One that makes "confetti" rather than just strips of paper.
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