Monday, March 13, 2006

Privacy Commissioner investigates new misdirected faxing problem

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is involved in a new incident of misdirected faxes. But, I hasten to add, the misdirected faxes do not appear to be the bank's fault. According to the Globe and Mail, faxes from CIBC to a sporting equipment supplier from Toronto have been sent to Christine Soda. The CIBC sent the faxes to the number it had on record for its customer, but the customer had moved and had not advised the bank of the new fax number. Once the number was released by the phone company, it was assigned to Ms. Soda.

Now, to make it more interesting, Ms. Soda has apparently refused to return the faxes to CIBC and both the bank and its customer are taking Ms. Soda to court for their return, according to the Toronto Star. Ms. Soda says her husband needs the documents for his own lawsuit. (He took them to his workplace and says he was fired because the faxes made the employer think he had another job. He is suing the former employer and needs the faxes as evidence.) The Privacy Commissioner is apparently on the case of this retention of personal information.

Here's a free piece of common sense that I routinely share with my clients: Never surrender your fax number. You can usually pay the phone company a reasonable fee so that it is not reassigned to another person for an interval of time.

Another freebie: Make sure your contacts know your updated information.

Here's my two cents' worth: This situation does not seem to engage PIPEDA. The information on the fax was about money transfers between two businesses. PIPEDA only deals with personal information, which means information about one or more individuals, not companies. It may be a breach of policy and a breach of bank secrecy, but it doesn't look like there was any personal information involved.

Check out: : Watchdog to review new CIBC fax fiasco and - Tangled tale another mess for CIBC.

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