Saturday, March 03, 2007 pawns off webmail service to US provider; says PIPEDA no longer applies

Apparently, CanWestGlobalAsperOmniMedia has outsourced the e-mail service to an American company, Velocity Services, Inc.

This is the blurb from the website:


Where will my e-mail account information be stored? e-mail (the "Service") is provided by Velocity Services, Inc. ("VSI"), a company located in and conducting its business from the United States. By registering for and/or logging on to the Service, you accept and acknowledge that the information processed or stored outside of Canada may be available to the foreign government of the country in which the information or the entity controlling it, is situated under a lawful order made in that jurisdiction and no longer falls under the jurisdiction of Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act ("PIPEDA") nor be subject to's Privacy Statement.

That's all well and good, but I'm pretty confident that you can't wave a magic wand and say that PIPEDA no longer applies. Either of two things have happened here: (a) VSI is providing this service on behalf of CanWest, or (b) CanWest has now sold's e-mail service to VSI. In neither case would PIPEDA cease to apply. For Canadian customers, there is enough of a real and substantial connection between the service and Canada for Canadian laws to apply. This would include PIPEDA.

In this conclusion, I have some comfort in the recent decision in Lawson v. Accusearch Inc., 2007 FC 125 (CanLII):

"[49] We revert to geographical considerations, and the concept of forum non conveniens. The collection and communication of private information was both here (Canada) and there (United States) (Libman v. The Queen, 1985 CanLII 51 (S.C.C.), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 178). The location of the website and the jurisdiction in which Accusearch Inc. was incorporated are not all controlling.

[50] It would not be appropriate to comment further on the discretion, if any, of the Commissioner to decline to exercise the jurisdiction given her by Parliament. The decision before me was that Parliament had not given her jurisdiction. However, I raise this point of discretion because it may be relevant when this matter is referred back to her for further investigation, or in other complaints. We do not know the status of the complaint filed in the United States, or the risk of double jeopardy to the respondent.

[51] In conclusion, PIPEDA gives the Privacy Commissioner jurisdiction to investigate complaints relating to the transborder flow of personal information."

Thanks to Canadian Journalist :: now ...AMERICAN??? for the link. Time to cancel my old e-mail account.

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