Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
September 18, 2017

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner – Report P-2017-004 Released

The Information and Privacy Commissioner, Donovan Molloy, Q.C., has released his Report P-2017-004 under authority of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

A summary of the Report is included below.

To view the Report in its entirety, go to ATIPPA Privacy Reports at www.oipc.nl.ca/reports/commissioner

Summary: The Complainant submitted a privacy complaint against the Town of South Brook (the “Town”) under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015 (the “ATIPPA, 2015”). The complaint was in relation to the Town’s decision to provide paper copies of a text message to all Councillors attending a privileged meeting of the Town Council, without first severing the Complainant’s cellphone number. Subsequently, one of the Town Councillors (the “Councillor”) decided to include the text message in a newsletter discussing Town business that he produced and sent to all residents, thereby exposing the Complainant’s cellphone number (and indirectly his identity) to the public. The Commissioner determined that the Town’s use of the Complainant’s personal information was in keeping with section 66 of the ATIPPA, 2015, but the Town failed to take reasonable steps to ensure this personal information in its custody or control was adequately protected against unauthorized disclosure in contravention of section 64(1) (protection of personal information). The Town failed to take steps to contain copies of the text, to have effective policies and procedures, and to educate staff and Council about how to best protect personal information from improper disclosure. This resulted in a breach of the Complainant’s personal information by the Councillor. The Town also failed to disclose this breach to the Commissioner in contravention of section 64(4). The Commissioner made recommendations to the Town relating to its need for a privacy policy that is enforced, education and training for staff and Councillors, as well as a process for handling breaches.

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Media contact
Sean Murray
Director of Special Projects
(709) 729-6309

2017 09 18                              2:40 p.m.