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, January 09, 2007

PIs, privacy and pretexting 

Kevin Bousquet, a private investigator with The Corpa Group, has an interesting and long post on PIs, privacy law and pretexting on his blog. It's his view that privacy laws have backfired and that Bill C-299 (the anti-pretexting private member's bill) will have a disastrous effect on the ability of private investigators to deal with fraud, among other things. It's obvious that he put a lot of thought into it and, though I don't agree with many of his conclusions, it is an interesting perspective.

Oddly, there wasn't anyone espousing this perspective who appeared at the PIPEDA review hearings.

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1/09/2007 07:16:00 AM  :: (3 comments)  ::  Backlinks
What the P.I. industry refers to as "pretexting", the rest of us simply call "lying"! The author seems outraged that his own "industry" can no longer practice deceipt. He argues that his deceptive acts are ok because he is "lying for the greater good". That logic is sickening! His insignficant little P.I. badge does not allow him to break the laws the rest of us must abide by. If being forced to be honest and ethical puts a strain on his ability to conduct business all I have to say is get in line buddy! We all have rules to follow and the P.I. industry is no different. I would argue that P.I's should be held to a higher standard anyway, as they are the ones partly responsible for the outcomes in people lives. So just tell the truth and act in an honest fashion. The problem is if investigators are allowed to lie legally, at what point do we ensure they are telling the truth? When THEY say so! I think not, practice honesty and ethical practices like the rest of us. No more lying to little old ladies to find out if the poor neighbor is still home recovering from surgery, you lying little slimeballs!!!
The other day I had to catch a few vendors on the street selling counterfeit watches (you know the name brands I am referring to).

I had to work under a pretext. I went in under the pretext (the lie) of being a customer buying counterfeit watches. I bought a few. Moments later the civil sheriff was at the door doing a seizure.

The day before that I told another lie. I had to find a father who abducted his daughter outside of a family court order. He was well known to be sexually molesting her. I had an idea the man was living in a certain trailer park.

I spoke to the park owner (an elderly lady I recall) said I had a parcel to deliver. The park owner confirmed the man and his daughter were residing at a certain lot. Moments later the police arrived.

Imagine if police departments were not allowed to lie or work under pretext. A police officer poses as a buyer of drugs. The drug dealer asks, Are you a cop?

The police officer says, “no” . Is it a lie or a lawful pretext?
Certain crimes i.e. the police are not involved it is left to the private sector.

This issue is criminal intent. There is NO criminal intent.

PI’s are fighting crimes in which police are not involved and left to the private sector.
A U.S. Bounty Hunter (an industry part of the private sector) is trying to catch a well known convicted felon, a man who has a record for rape and sexual assault of children.

As part of the process the Bounty Hunter hires a Private Investigator to locate the man. The private investigator finds the grandmother of the felon.

He creates a pretext on the grandmother, telling her that her grandson has one a free prize, a new turbo powered car washer. The grandmother states that the felon is living with his girlfriend and gives and address and telephone number.

Shortly after the felon is apprehended. A criminal is off the streets thanks to lawful pretext as legislated in that state.
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