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.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CRTC demands investigation after three phone companies' records leaked to reporter 

As blogged about here last week, a reporter for MacLean's Magazine recently purchased the phone records of the Canadian Privacy Commissioner to prove the point that huge amounts of personal information are available for sale online (The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: MacLean's cover story on privacy and information brokers). It was a pretty effective illustration.

Now, the CRTC wants to know how it happened:

Halifax Live - CRTC Directs Three Phone Companies Investigate Privacy Breach Exposed by A National Magazine:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is calling the country's phone companies onto the carpet over revelations in Maclean's magazine that U.S. databrokers are selling the home and cellphone records of Canadian consumers.

In a terse letter dated Nov. 18, the telecommunications regulator demands that three phone companies immediately launch internal investigations into how the magazine was able to obtain the phone records of Canada's privacy commissioner, and another customer, via a Tennessee-based online service.

The companies have been given a strict 10-day deadline to report back to the commission with a host of information, including descriptions of the safeguards that were in place when the breaches occurred, explanations of how the companies verify customer identity and new measures being taken to improve security.

The phone carriers have had little to say publicly about what steps are being taken to tighten internal security. But, in response to the Maclean's cover story, Bell Canada did issue a press release in which the company provided assurances that its customers' privacy was considered a priority and in the case of the Maclean's magazine ability to breach security, the information was obtained through "subterfuge and misrepresentation" acording to Bell's press release.

The Bell press releases continues, "This problem has affected others in our industry, both in Canada and the U.S. The Company is continuing to investigate whether there are any legal actions, either criminal or civil, that Bell or others in the industry, or government agencies can take to stop these fraudulent practices and protect consumers."

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