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Privacy

California passes legislation prohibiting employers from demanding access to personal social media accounts

Jurisdiction: - United States

California has passed legislation prohibiting employers from demanding access to employees' and job applicants' personal social media accounts. The text of the September 27, 2012 press release from the Govenor's office is as follows:

Governor Brown Signs Laws to Protect Privacy for Social Media Users

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today took to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace to announce that he has signed two bills that increase privacy protections for social media users in California.

Assembly Bill 1844 (Campos) and Senate Bill 1349 (Yee) prohibit universities and employers from requiring that applicants give up their email or social media account passwords.

"The Golden State is pioneering the social media revolution and these laws will protect all Californians from unwarranted invasions of their personal social media accounts," said Governor Brown.  read more »

Alberta Privacy Commissioner will seek leave to appeal in case where ABCA found PIPA breached Charter

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

The Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner's office issued the following news release yesterday, concerning the Alberta Court of Appeal's decision in United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 v. Alberta (Attorney General), 2012 ABCA 130, which found the Alberta privacy sector privacy legislation, PIPA, to be unconstitutional:

Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton will apply to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 v. Alberta (Attorney General), 2012 ABCA 130.  read more »

Ontario court urges "business transaction" exemption be added to PIPEDA, grants order for disclosure

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal - Ontario

In the Matter of an Application Under Rules 14.05(3)(d), 2012 ONSC 2530, a decision issued on April 26, 2012, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted an order allowing the vendor financial institution to disclose personal information to the purchaser, pursuant to an asset purchase transaction.

In doing so, the court urged, effectively, for the implementation of "business transaction" provisions such as those found in the BC and Alberta PIPAs, stating:

It is evident from this long list of cases that Farley J. was prescient in suggesting that "this type of situation should be addressed to avoid unnecessary court applications."  I join Farley J. in urging that a route be provided that will permit the disclosure of the necessary personal information in such circumstances as these to avoid wasting the court's time and the parties' funds (at para. 12).  read more »

"10 Tips to Deal with Employee Discipline for Social Media Use"

Jack Graham and Lana Rafuse at McInnes Cooper have written a legal update for the law firm's newsletter titled, "10 Tips to Deal with Employee Discipline for Social Media Use" (March 1, 2012).

The tips are designed to assist employers in "drawing the line" on social media use and thus be in a position to discipline employees who go over the line. Taken directly from the article, their tips are:  read more »

Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers posts factum in SCC case concerning privacy, work computers

The Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE) is an association of management-side labour and employment lawyers across Canada that was created in 2004.

In  a news release issued today, it announced it is intervening before the Supreme Court of Canada in the R v. Cole case. The release states as folllows:

In a case involving a teacher and nude sexually explicitly images of a grade 10 student, the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE) has intervened before the Supreme Court on the case, R. v. Cole, on the issue of privacy and work computers.  read more »

Calgary Police Service breach privacy statute by accessing employee's personal email account, using photos

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

Here is April 30, 2012 news release that was issued by the Alberta Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in relation to Order F2012-07, which was issued on April 20, 2012:

Calgary Police Service in contravention of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

An Adjudicator with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has determined that the Calgary Police Service was in violation of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) when it accessed the personal email account of an individual.  read more »

Facebook issues statement against employers asking prospective or actual employees to reveal passwords

Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, issued a statement on March 23, 2012 setting out the company's opposition to employers asking prospective or actual employees to reveal their Facebook passwords.

The statement reads:

"In recent months, we've seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people's Facebook profiles or private information. This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user's friends. It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.

The most alarming of these practices is the reported incidences of employers asking prospective or actual employees to reveal their passwords. If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends. We have worked really hard at Facebook to give you the tools to control who sees your information.  read more »

Supreme Court of Canada to hear union's appeal of case concerning random alcohol testing in workplace

In a decision issued on March 20, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada announced that it would hear the appeal of a case involving an employer's right to conduct random alcohol testing in the workplace

Some key facts concerning the case:  read more »

Ontario Court of Appeal recognizes tort of invasion of personal privacy in case involving two BMO employees

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

In a decision issued on January 18, 2012 - Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32 - the Ontario Court of Appeal recognized the tort of invasion of personal privacy in case involving two BMO employees.

The court then awarded $10,000 in damages to the employee whose privacy has been breached.

For more background on this case, see my May 9, 2011 post here: "Ontario Court of Appeal to consider tort of invasion of privacy in work context case".