Real estate management company responds fairly and reasonably to surveillance camera concerns

Discontinued Case Summary #2015-001

October 21, 2014


Lessons Learned

  • Proactive measures taken by an organization to resolve privacy issues may serve as grounds to discontinue an investigation pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(c) of PIPEDA.

Complaint

An individual alleged that a real estate management company collected his personal information without his consent. Specifically, he alleged that the organization did not have adequate signage indicating that a shopping mall was under video surveillance, and that the company had over-collected his personal information when it turned a camera to focus on him.

Discontinuance of Investigation

The complainant was entering a shopping mall with his service dog when he was stopped by a security guard who stated that the complainant could not enter the premises with an animal. After the complainant produced a certificate for the service dog, the security guard indicated that he would consult with his supervisor and requested that the complainant remain at the entrance. Soon after, a camera was turned to point towards the complainant.

In its representations, the respondent informed us that before a complaint was filed with our Office, it had posted new signs to clearly state that the premises were monitored by video surveillance for safety and security reasons. The respondent acknowledged that there was an entrance which still lacked clear notification but confirmed that it posted a new sign at that entrance after the complainant brought the matter to its attention.

Regarding the over-collection of personal information, our Office learned that the security guard who had turned the camera toward the complainant was a new employee, and had not advised his supervisor that the complainant was still waiting at the entrance. When the security guard turned the camera, the supervisor had assumed that he was conducting his regular duties. The supervisor apologized to the complainant and later explained to the security guard that the complainant should not have been refused entry in light of the fact that the complainant had a certificate for his service dog.

Accordingly, our Office concluded that the respondent had provided a fair and reasonable response to the complainant, within the meaning of paragraph 12.2(1)(c) of PIPEDA. The organization addressed the complainant’s concerns by posting new signs at the entrances of the mall to indicate that the property was under video surveillance, and by providing the security guard with additional training with respect to dealing with patrons with service animals. Our Office therefore exercised its discretion to discontinue the investigation of this complaint pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(c) of PIPEDA.

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