Boy, there’s lots of news this week. I hope you have the time, maybe over the weekend, to try to catch up.
One interesting story came out of BC, where the Commissioner’s Office determined that the email addresses of bureaucrats are still their personal information in the context of a freedom to information request for metadata that shows patterns of communications between government officials. For as long as we’ve had public-sector privacy laws (and that’s about four decades now) there’s probably no singular issue that comes up more often than the tension between access and the bureaucrats' right to some privacy while at work.
I think the BC decision is a bit at odds with jurisprudence on the issue of bureaucrats' right to privacy. For example, you might recall that, in 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada in the first Dagg case held that the logs that displayed when bureaucrats signed in and out of work was information about their jobs, and therefore an exception to being their personal information. Mind you, that decision was a 4-to-3 split amongst the judges, so clearly if you ask two different decisionmakers about this issue, you might get two totally different points of view. That being said, I would’ve thought that if the “metadata” concerning when bureaucrats are signed in at work is to be released upon request, then the logs of when emails are sent amongst bureaucrats would also be fair game. But, like I said, it's an area where there seems to often be differing opinions, so this is no different.
Is there another privacy story in this week’s news that got your attention? If so, maybe take a second or two to drop me a line. It’s a good way to know whether I’m out to lunch when it comes to thinking about what’s important to the privacy pro reading the Digest.
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