Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ontario access to information decision may affect cloud computing decisions

Dan Michaluk has a great summary of a recent and important access to information case from Ottawa, City of Ottawa v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner) (13 December 2010, Ont Div. Ct.): Case Report – Personal e-mails not subject to FOI legislation « All About Information.

I think this is probably one of the most important access decisions of the past year. It's similar to Johnson v Bell Canada, but seems to go even further. It will have a big impact in universities, where professors have generally been wrangling for exclusion of their e-mail from access legislation.

Most importantly, I think: This case may also have an impact on cloud computing for universities and USA Patriot Act-blocking statutes, because these statutes only apply to information under the "custody or control" of the public body. This case can be interpreted to support the proposition that student e-mail, at least, is not under the custody or control of the public body for the purposes of such statutes.

Update (30 December 2010): Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Ontario Commissioner to appeal personal email decision.

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