Many businesses are not complying with Alberta’s law surrounding the collection, use and storage of customers’ personal information, says the province’s privacy office. The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), has been law for nine years, but a survey conducted by Alberta’s information and privacy commissioner found 50% of companies haven’t trained staff on protecting customers’ information. A recent example of this involves an Edmonton woman who received a series of late-night text messages from a mechanic at Sherwood Ford who got her number when she had her car serviced, more than a year ago. Her privacy complaints to the company, the RCMP, Ford of Canada, and the Better Business Bureau, were ignored and dismissed. Brian Hamilton of the privacy commissioner’s office says the case raises several concerns, including how many people in a business have access to customers’ personal information. A greater privacy breach is using a customer’s contact information for purposes other than the business reason for which it was gathered. The woman said her complaint would never have gone so far if the company had taken her concerns more seriously.

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