Privacy commissioner rules against EUB

Privacy commissioner rules against EUB by Charles Rusnell, September 13, 2007, Edmonton Journal
Private investigators working for the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board breached the privacy of power-line protesters in Rimbey by collecting their personal information, says an investigation by the provincial privacy commissioner. Commissioner Frank Work also found the EUB’s response to an assumed security threat was inappropriate, and there was no need to hire the investigators to spy on the public. “It seems to me that uniformed security personnel would also be able to observe and report any incidents to the EUB security team leader, the RCMP or the community centre proprietor,” Work wrote in his decision released today. “It seems to me that the EUB wanted to ensure that Rimbey proceedings were able to be conducted in an orderly manner, without disruptions from observers and groups, and that panel members, hearing staff and participants would be protected from confrontations. I find the security arrangements that were taken at the Rimbey Court House demonstrate that this objective could be met without the need to collect personal information.” Work rejected the EUB’s contention that it needed to collect the personal information for the purpose of carrying out its hearing peacefully. He said he found no evidence to support this EUB’s claim that it needed to conduct an ongoing “threat assessment.” An earlier threat assessment and the security measures taken at that time were sufficient to protect the panelists, staff and public, he said. “There was no evidence before me that any staff or hearing participants feared for their safety at the Court House and as stated earlier, the EUB staff based at the Community Centre said they did not feel threatened.”

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