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OPC discontinues additional complaints against Globe24h.com following investigation into same privacy issues

Discontinued case summary #2015-002

July 28, 2015


Lessons Learned

  • Where our office continues to receive complaints about a matter which has already been the subject of a report by the OPC, the investigation may be discontinued pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(e) of PIPEDA.
  • In this case, we decided to discontinue further complaints because in addition to our own investigation, the matter was being brought to the Federal Court and the website was ultimately taken down.

Complaints

Multiple complainants alleged that the operator of the website Globe24h.com (“Globe24h”) collected, used and disclosed their personal information without consent, and for inappropriate purposes. Specifically, the complainants alleged that Globe24h was republishing Canadian court and tribunal decisions—which contained their personal information—on the website Globe24h.com, was allowing this information to be indexed by search engines, and was charging individuals to have their information removed.

After opening an investigation and issuing a Preliminary Report of Investigation, we continued to receive complaints from Canadians about the organization’s practices. These complainants were informed of the ongoing investigation and told that their additional complaints would be put on hold pending the completion of the investigation of the initial complaints.

Our investigation concluded that the initial complaints were well-founded. Our final report of findings was issued on June 5, 2015 and posted on our website. However, our office continued to receive further complaints about the organization.

Discontinuance of Investigation

The allegations raised in the additional complaints we received were the same as those addressed during our investigation of the initial complaints.

As a result, our office decided to exercise its discretion to discontinue investigating the additional complaints pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(e) of PIPEDA, which states that the Commissioner may discontinue the investigation of a complaint if he is of the opinion that the matter has already been the subject of a report by the Commissioner.

The complainants were informed of our office’s findings and that we had a continuing interest in Globe24h complying with PIPEDA. They were also advised that our office would be considering pursuing this matter in accordance with our authorities under PIPEDA (see “Further Enforcement Tools” in How the OPC enforces PIPEDA).

Subsequently, one of the original complainants filed an application against Globe24h in the Federal Court of Canada on July 27, 2015. Our office was added as a party to the proceeding on March 15, 2016 and made submissions in support of the relief being requested by the complainant.

On January 30, 2017, the Federal Court issued a decision, confirming the findings of our investigation and ordering the operator of Globe24h to remove Canadian court and tribunal decisions containing personal information from his website, and to refrain from further copying and republishing Canadian decisions in a manner that contravened PIPEDA. It also ordered the operator of Globe24h to pay the complainant nominal damages for the harm he had caused him. Shortly after the Court’s decision was issued, the website ceased to operate.

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