Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Alberta Court of Appeal overrules province's Commissioner on license info

There appears to be a significant dissonance between the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta and that province's Court of Appeal. The Court just released its decision in Leon’s Furniture Limited v. Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2011 ABCA 94 (CanLII) and made some rather surprising findings.

The appeal centered around whether it is reasonable for Leon's Furniture to collect drivers license numbers and car license plate numbers when customers pick up furniture from the store. The Information and Privacy Commissioner's delegate had concluded that this was in appropriate under the Personal Information Protection Act to do so.

Two very notable findings:

  • An individual's "right" to privacy does not trump the "need" of a business to collect, use or disclose personal information. A balancing is called for.
  • A vehicle license number is not "personal information" because it is not about an individual.

Check out the full summary of this important case here: Majority of Alberta CA Slaps OIPC on Driver’s License Case « All About Information.

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