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Passenger objects to photograph taken by airline employee during a flight

PIPEDA Case Summary #2002-89

[Section 4(2)(b)]


An airline passenger complained that an airline pilot had taken his photograph during a flight without his consent.

Summary of Investigation

The Commissioner's inquiry into this matter confirmed that the airline pilot took several photographs of the exterior and interior of the aircraft. The Commissioner determined that although a few passengers were captured in one photo, they do not include passengers sitting in the front row of the cabin where the complainant indicated he was seated.

The Commissioner confirmed that the pilot took the photographs for his own personal use to have as mementos because this was the last time that he would fly this specific type of aircraft. None of the photographs were taken on behalf of, or provided to, the airline.

Commissioner's Findings

Issued November 12, 2002

Jurisdiction: As of January 1, 2001, PIPEDA applies strictly to federal works, undertakings, or businesses. The Commissioner has jurisdiction in this case because the airline company is a federal work, undertaking or business as defined in the Act.

Application: Section 2 of the Act defines personal information to be "...information about an identifiable individual...". Section 4(2)(b) states that the Act does not apply to personal information that an individual collects, uses or discloses for personal or domestic purposes only.

The Commissioner determined that a photograph depicting passengers was the passengers' personal information. The Commissioner was satisfied that the pilot took the photographs for personal reasons and did not use them for any other purposes. Therefore section 4(2)(b) of the Act applies.

Consequently, the Commissioner concluded that he did not have jurisdiction in this matter.


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