Windows reveal too much information

Settled case summary #9

Complaint

The Office received two complaints against two different banks regarding an excessive amount of information that could be seen through the envelope window.

In one case, the complainant, an administrator of a pension fund for an organization, received registered retirement savings plan transfers from a bank. He complained that the bank was not adequately protecting client personal information because social insurance numbers (SINs) contained on the transfer documents were visible in the window portion of the envelopes.

Outcome

The bank acknowledged the problem and instituted a new process whereby the SIN and account numbers are removed from the name and address portion of the document and placed in an area that is not visible through the window on the envelope. The complainant and our Office were pleased with the outcome and felt that the concerns had been fully addressed.

The complaint was settled during the course of investigation in July 2004.

In the second case, the complainant alleged that his bank had improperly disclosed his personal information. When he received a dormant account notice from the bank, the address on the envelope showed the following below his name — "Bankrupt February 4, 2000."

Outcome

The bank modified the process for making notations in the client profile so that such a message could not inadvertently be added to the address field. Specifically, the Credit Management and Recoveries Centre entry clerks no longer enter information about a bankruptcy in a free form text message but code the message in an automated fashion so that the client's information is safeguarded to the greatest extent possible.

The complainant was pleased that the bank had implemented changes to ensure that its clients' personal information is safeguarded and not disclosed to other individuals.

The complaint was settled during the course of the investigation in October 2004.

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