Today, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) announced
its report of findings against Compu-Finder, a Quebec-based company
that offers face-to-face professional training courses.
The OPC alleges Compu-Finder used address harvesting programs to
search and collect e-mails on the internet. This marks the first
investigation by the OPC involving its address harvesting
provisions under the Personal Information and Electronic
Documents Act (PIPEDA). The OPC concluded that Compu-Finder
did use e-mail addresses of individuals to send e-mails promoting
its business activities, without the consent of the individuals
concerned. Compu-Finder was unable to demonstrate it had the
appropriate consent for the collection and use for many of the
e-mail addresses. Further, the OPC found Compu-Finder lacked basic
privacy knowledge of its obligations and failed in demonstrating
accountability and openness of its privacy practices.
This investigation also debuts the OPC's compliance
agreement power since the tool was added by the Digital Privacy
Act on June 18, 2015. The compliance agreement between the
Privacy Commissioner of Canada and Compu-Finder lists over ten
remedial measures imposed on Compu-Finder. Some of the following
measures that Compu-Finder has agreed to implement, include:
collect and use only e-mail addresses
with proper consent;
destroy all e-mail addresses in its
possessions which were collected without obtaining consent;
refrain from collecting any
electronic addresses of individuals through the use of a harvesting
develop and implement a privacy
obtain a third-party audit of its
Compu-Finder is also under investigation by the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The CRTC
issued a Notice of Violation against Compu-Finder pursuant to
Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) on March 5,
2016. The OPC acknowledged the CRTC shared investigative
information with the OPC pursuant to CASL and a Memorandum of
Understanding between the two agencies.
The CRTC's proceedings against Compu-Finder are still on
You can read the full report of findings and compliance
agreement online here.
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