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.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Noncommercial spam and PIPEDA 

Alec Saunders, at is a little upset about receiving some unsolicited e-mail from the liberal party and Bill Graham (How to Stop the Liberal Party of Canada From Spamming You -- Alec Saunders .LOG):

Hypocrites that they are, by spamming me with Liberal propaganda, they’ve violated their own privacy policy. Their hypocrisy is further amplified by the fact that what they’ve done contradicts the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, section 4.2.4 which states:
When personal information that has been collected is to be used for a purpose not previously identified, the new purpose shall be identified prior to use. Unless the new purpose is required by law, the consent of the individual is required before information can be used for that purpose.

And here, of course, is the irony. It was a Liberal Government which introduced the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Whether this is a violation of PIPEDA depends upon whether that law applies at all. PIPEDA only regulates the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities (and information about employees of federal works, undetakings and businesses). This generally excludes non-profits, like political parties. Some activities are deemed to be commercial, like the sale or trade of personal information by a non-profit organization.

It's arguable that PIPEDA wouldn't apply in the case of political spam, unless one organization has traded the e-mail address with another. But if it bugs you enough, complain to the Privacy Commissioner and see if she agrees...

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5/06/2006 08:24:00 AM  :: (1 comments)  ::  Backlinks

Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that non-profits were outside the scope of the legislation.

I wouldn't have been so incensed if they hadn't made me dig for the unsubscribe information. It just seems to be common courtesy to display that prominently.

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