Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Canadian Privacy and Private Action

In reading Arthur’s post on “Canadian PM FAIL,” I was thinking of the odds that this would be investigated and dealt with under Canadian privacy law. Now, I’m not an expert on that, but my recollection is that the main private sector law, PIPED complements a Federal Privacy Act which would likely be the relevant law for the office of the Prime Minister. I also recall that neither law contains any sort of right of private action.

So, will the Privacy Commissioner investigate? She has limited resources, and perhaps she doesn’t see this the way that Arthur does, “there are few groups who care less for this sort of tracking than Jews.” Perhaps she has other priorities. (Does anyone know if a formal complaint has been filed?)

Regardless of if the Commissioner investigates, I think there’s value to society in allowing citizens to balance government, rather than having to act as supplicants, asking one department to investigate another. The ability to act as a party in a case can be a powerful balancing factor.