Correspondence to CRTC posted on Web site

Overview

An individual wrote to the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) supporting the licence application of a cultural broadcasting company.

The CRTC posted the individual's correspondence on its Web site exactly as it had been received, including her name, address, phone number and e-mail address. This practice is explained on the Web site, but unfortunately the individual had not noticed this and had no idea that her correspondence would be published in this fashion. She was also not aware that she could ask the CRTC to remove personal identifiers before the correspondence was posted.

When the individual learned that her personal information was on the Web site, she immediately asked that it be removed. The CRTC complied within 48 hours. However, in the meantime, the search engine Google (and possibly others) had picked up the data. When the individual's name was "Googled," her original correspondence to the CRTC would come up.

The individual contacted Google requesting that it too remove her personal information. It replied that it would not do so without a formal request from the webmaster of the site that originally posted the information on the Internet. The individual forwarded her correspondence to the CRTC for appropriate follow-up action, but her personal information remained on the Internet.

Actions taken by the OPC

Following our Office's intervention, the CRTC's webmaster made three requests to Google. None of these requests received a formal response. However, Google did eventually remove the individual's personal information — to her relief and satisfaction.

Outcome of OPC Actions

We closed the file as "settled during the course of investigation."

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