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.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Huge debit card scam suggests that retailers keep PINs on file 

Thanks to David Canton ( for pointing me to this article on MSNBC: 

Banks and others involved in the financial sector have reported a huge surge in ATM fraud in the past little while. The surge has led to speculation that it cannot be tied to traditional scams, such as card skimming and shoulder-surfing.  It is reported that a US based retailer has stored the confidential PINs associated with past debit card transactions and this database has been compromised.

Apparently scammers would rather go for cash than credit.

I agree with David Canton that keeping PINs would likely be against PIPEDA in Canada, because you can only keep personal information for as long as reasonably necessary, which would only be the immediate authentication of the transaction in question. For Canadian readers, take note: if you keep this information and it is compromised, you will likely be on the hook for every penny that is lost by consumers and their financial institutions.

(Pardon the formatting and any typos. I'm posting this from my blackberry since I'm stuck in an airport.)

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