InfoCanada (July 2005)

InfoCanada (July 2005)

On July 15, 2005, CIPPIC filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada against InfoCanada, a Canadian company that sells lists of information about Canadian businesses and consumers.

In the complaint, CIPPIC alleged that InfoCanada combines publicly available personal information from telephone books with aggregated demographic data from Statistics Canada, to create lists of "personal demographic information" for sale to marketers, thus invoking PIPEDA. PIPEDA requires organizations to obtain consent before using and disclosing personal information. CIPPIC argued that InfoCanada violates PIPEDA by failing to obtain consent to its use and disclosure of this personal information, inaccurate as it may be. CIPPIC also alleged that InfoCanada violates PIPEDA by failing to be open about its personal information management practices and by using personal information for inappropriate purposes.

Although CIPPIC chose to investigate InfoCanada, CIPPIC has reason to believe that many other data-brokers in Canada use similar data matching techniques to create and enhance marketing lists. CIPPIC anticipates that a finding from the Privacy Commissioner will clarify the appropriateness of these data matching activities for all companies in this industry.

In a preliminary report dated August 15, 2008, the OPC finds that there is no PIPEDA violation because "the fact that a person lives in a neighbourhood with certain information about the neighbourhood, not about the individual."  CIPPIC has until October 15th to respond to this preliminary conclusion.  CIPPIC explains, in its response, why this finding is flawed.


CIPPIC's letter, July 15,2005.
Preliminary Report of Findings.
CIPPIC's letter, October 15,2008.