Annual Report to Parliament 2013 - page 11

Message from the Interim Commissioner
In 2013 the Office continued to apply a triage
approach to ensure the optimal treatment for
each of the 426 cases for review, an increase
from 220
1
the year before. This approach
pinpoints the most pressing and novel
privacy issues, in the hope that lessons can
be learned from them and widely shared. Of
the complaints received, a very high number
were about changes to Bell’s privacy policy and
were folded into one Commissioner-initiated
complaint. A total of 133 complaints were
successfully treated through the Office’s Early
Resolution stream, where specially trained
investigators used mediation, conciliation and
other strategies to arrive at a more expedient
and mutually agreeable solution.
In the end, formal findings were generated in
67 investigations. It was determined that 24 of
the complaints were not well-founded, while
35 were well-founded but entirely or at least
conditionally resolved. In eight further cases,
however, the Office was not satisfied that the
organization resolved the well-founded issues
that were raised in the complaints. In such
cases, respondent organizations were urged to
take the steps necessary to comply with our
recommendations.
1 Note that this includes 166 complaints regarding Bell’s
privacy policy which were discontinued given the fact that
concerns are being investigated though one Commissioner-
initiated complaint
Focusing on transparency
In several of the key actions taken in 2013,
transparency was central. In one investigation
conducted in 2013 (which we feature on page
22), it was found that Apple was not being
transparent in collecting payment information
from users to create Apple IDs even though
certain apps were available to download at no
cost. Following an investigation, the company
committed to address the issue.
Meanwhile 2013 included two investigations
in regard to the online behavioural advertising
practices of two tech titans. And these results
stemmed directly from the Office’s work in
earlier years to develop a policy position and
guidance on what we had identified then as an
emerging practice.
In one found on page 13, Apple ended-up
strengthening its privacy practices by giving
users of iPhones, iPads and iPods greater
control over the information collected about
them for advertising purposes, making such
controls more accessible and by conveying
clearer information on how the company
served up targeted ads.
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