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Privacy and Civic Duty: The Legitimate Scope of Voluntary Information Sharing by Private Enterprises in Law Enforcement Investigations into Cybercrime

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University of Ontario Institute of Technology



Project Leader(s)

Andrea Slane, Associate Professor


This project examined the emerging body of case law, proposed and enacted legislation, and guidelines for business best practices marking the legitimate parameters within which businesses and other organizations are free to voluntarily share customer or employee information with police.

The project produced a research paper, “Privacy and Civic Duty: The Right to Online Anonymity and the Charter Compliant Scope of Voluntary Cooperation with Police Requests”, which has been submitted to, and is currently under review by, Queen’s Law Journal. The article analyzes the three recent Canadian appellate court cases that discuss these issues, which includes an analysis of the courts’ interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.  At least one of these cases, R. v. Spencer, has been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The project also produced a web portal that provides legal information on what factors businesses might consider if they are confronted with a decision as to whether to voluntarily share customer or employee information with police, either because they have been a victim of a data security breach, have discovered possible criminal wrong-doing by a customer or employee, or have been approached by police and asked to provide information housed on their computers or network systems. The site presents the information in a variety of formats: text based pages, an interactive tool to walk users through the factors, and a short video encapsulating the contents of the site and tool.

This document is available in the following language(s):

English only

OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

Contact Information

2000 Simcoe St N.
Oshawa, Ontario
L1H 7K4

Tel: 905-721-8668
Fax: 905-721-3178

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