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Buying gallery ticket not an invitation to ongoing marketing

An art lover who purchased a ticket to the National Gallery’s Klimt exhibit was disconcerted when called on to support the Gallery’s ongoing programs. Shortly after buying the Klimt ticket, the complainant received a call from the National Gallery Foundation asking whether she had enjoyed the exhibit. She ended the call.

Some time later, when a foundation volunteer called again to solicit her support, the woman asked how they knew about her visit and why she was on the call list. Since the volunteer did not know, she asked the gallery directly. They revealed that they routinely disclose ticket buyers’ information to the foundation for fund raising.

The woman complained to the Privacy Commissioner that the disclosure was improper. The investigator confirmed that the gallery builds a database from ticket sales for membership drives and to promote upcoming exhibits. The gallery removed her name from the database and apologized for the calls. It will also seek express consent in future before adding ticket purchasers’ names to the foundation’s database.

The woman was satisfied with the resolution of her complaint, which the Office considers settled in the course of investigation.

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