Monday, February 06, 2012

Did The Citizenship and Immigration Department Violate PIPEDA (Federal Privacy Laws) In Arranging Sun TV's Fake Oath Ceremony?

I am inclined to think (and I actually have some practical knowledge of the subject) that they did.  Or at least I am not convinced by this argument that they didn't:

"My status as a new Canadian is not a private one. ... It's definitely a secondary purpose, they've repurposed the information from providing client services to me to doing their own self promotion," said Steeves, of the department of criminology.

"I might not be too happy if they called and I'd have the right to say no, but it seems to me that my status of citizen is still a matter of publicity."

Unless there exists a list of recent immigrants that I don't know about that's available to the public, in the same way the white pages are available to the public ("is publicly available and is specified by the regulations"), then it doesn't seem that this use of the personal information meets the criteria given in section 7 for using such information without consent.  If  Citizenship and Immigration Canada doesn't have a note on their forms saying that they may recruit you for cheapass PR stunts based on what you put on said forms, then they may have gone beyond what they are allowed to do with information they collected from the new Canadians they called trying to arrange their faux citizenship ceremony for Sun TV. 

Mind you, as the gal from the Privacy Commission indicates:

Anne-Marie Hayden, a spokeswoman for Stoddart, said the office couldn't speculate on whether there had been a violation of the Act without conducting a detailed examination.

"If, however, an individual who was contacted has concerns that this may have been a privacy violation, they could file a complaint with our office and we would investigate," Hayden said.

... its a complaints driven process, and if the people actually contacted by Kenney's office don't bitch, nothing is likely to happen.

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