Monday, September 01, 2008

Ottawa Citizen Article: Public Servant Fights To Keep Personal Info Out of Fraud Investigation Report

Today's Ottawa Citizen reports on attempts by a former federal public servant to prevent the Public Service Commission from publishing his name and other personal information in reports available over the Internet relating to a fraud investigation.

The article entitled Former bureaucrat investigated for fraud fights to keep name secret explains this is just one in a growing number of disputes over the publication of court and administrative tribunal decisions on the Internet and the privacy issues this raises.

The Public Service Commission found that the individual in question committed fraud on a number of occasions.

According to The Citizen:

"The commission rarely publishes the names of bureaucrats it investigates, but it does have the power to decide if revealing their identity is in the public interest or not (...)"

"But Mr. X argues the commission never told him that his name and his family's personal information could be publicly revealed when it explained the consequences of its investigation. According to court documents, he claimed to pay little attention to the investigation because he was so distracted by the turmoil in his personal life. He was suffering from mental illness and fighting suicidal tendencies and his wife had problems with her first pregnancy that led to her hospitalization."
The case again raises the issue of the conflict between the well-established principle of open courts and protection of privacy. And as the article explains, the federal Privacy Commissioner has been dealing with an increasing number of complaints about the type of personal information included in tribunal rulings posted online.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:53 pm


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