Sunday, February 12, 2006

Municipal bylaws mandating police database for used goods vendors OK'd by the Courts

I posted a little while ago about a new trend of pawnshops being required to collect customers' personal information for inclusion in a police database (See The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Database on sellers of used goods upsets Ontario Privacy Commissioner). We now have a measure of resolution to the legal controversey.

Two different used-goods vendors in two different provinces went to the courts to challenge two bylaws of this sort. Cash Converters in Oshawa, Ontario and Royal City Jewellers & Loans in New Westminster, BC each sought relief before the courts of their respective provinces. Both were shot down. Not too surprisingly, the argument that the bylaws are contrary to the federal privacy law, PIPEDA, and the BC equivalent, PIPA, did not hold water. Both laws allow collection of personal information without consent when, required by law. Even a municipal bylaw satisfies that requirement.

This isn't the end of the debate, as both companies are considering appeals. And, the political debate will continue. Just because it is legal doesn't necessarily make it uncontrovertial. From the Toronto Star: - Courts okay database bylaw

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