Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Article: Privacy issues of receipts and the OPC's resources issues

Full points to the Toronto Star for its very strong coverage of privacy issues.

A column in today's edition discusses the privacy problems associated with companies that continue to print the full debit and credit card numbers on receipts and, more importantly, the huge lack of resources hampering the responsiveness of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. The OPC, under PIPEDA, has up to a year to issue a finding and it appears to be taking about that long. Michael Geist's complaint, blogged about in "Privacy Commissioner issues first spam decision under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)", was filed in February of this year and took about ten months to result in a finding. See the Star's column: - It's up to the public to enforce privacy law: "

When Denise Ranger ordered Chinese food recently, she was shocked to see her credit card number and expiry date printed in large type on the receipt � along with her address and telephone number.

'Any person could take my telephone number, go to the Internet, find my full name and shop to their heart's content, or even take my identity,' she says.

When she called the office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, she found something equally shocking: It would take up to a year to investigate her complaint.

The privacy commissioner's office is short-staffed. It has only one person handling calls from the public.

Renee Couturier, a privacy commission spokeswoman, didn't realize the call centre was down to one full-time staff member until I asked her to double-check.

'We had five inquiry officers at our peak,' she says. 'When we have critical periods, we have to pull people from other areas to assist.' ...."

No comments: