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Notes from phone calls with the Privacy Commision’s investigator

Between 2004.06.01 and 2005.03.31, I spoke on the phone with an investigator from the Privacy Commissioner’s office three times. What follows are lightly-edited notes from those calls. As the investigator is not a public figure, it is not necessary to name her in any of these documents.

2004.06.01 11:50

“It is not contrary to the Act for them to request personal information in exchange for equipment.” Such is the initial finding based on precedent (she brought up the case of returning an item to a store). I said it wasn't the complainant's responsibility to solve the respondent's problem, but she explained that, in the lengthy give-and-take in this investigation, I could make “representations” at any time, which would be weighed by the Commissioner.

She wrote to Famous Players stating the complaint came from “Joe Clark, Toronto.” She asked about:

If the Commission deems the information insufficient, they can launch their own 60-day investigation, including interviews with the people involved in the incidents and, possibly, visits to theatres. (She claimed she'd already been to the Ottawa ones, plural. She also spends several weeks per month in Toronto on bank complaints.)

FP would have to make my file available in a form understandable to me, which could in fact mean at their office at a certain time on a certain screen.

FP will provide a written response within the first full week of July. And she'll be on vacation till at least July 20.

There was the usual bullshit about how “angry” I was and whether the Office and I could even “work together.” I told her that Commission staff have to recognize they're dealing with people with pent-up frustrations and that they should not take it personally.

2004.06.23 16:21

Famous asked for an extension till August 31. And, curiously, this delay has been “accepted.”

My complaint was accepted as such May 4. The Commissioner has until 20050504 to render a decision, and they wouldn't consider it “delayed” until January or February.

We then had the usual bullshit conversation about tone of voice, which I told her we'd already covered. I asked twice if there was any other substantive news, and on the second request she said no.

“Well, I'm not going to get in a war of words with you. I'll just note your comments in the file.”

2005.03.31 15:46

Investigation was completed, the report is done, and it’s going to the assistant commissioner. Called to do a review of facts.

Upon review of further facts gained; notes from our calls; and [information from] Famous Players, she added [as grounds for complaint] openness and retention to collection; safeguards; openness and accountability (training in the 20040601 notes).

First they dealt with the background, “basically outlined what you specifically indicated in your complaint.”

Heather Black is the deputy commissioner, but the file goes from her to Legal for a final review, then to Black or Jennifer Stoddart. “If you decide that you want to publish the finding on your Web page, you may do so.”

May 4 is the year mark from the date the complaint was accepted, so she hopes I’d have a response before then. They’re dealing with cases from Jan./Dec./Feb., she thinks.

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Published: 2005.06.24