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Ontario Court Paves Way for Victims of Privacy Intrusion to Sue Snoopers

The Ontario Court of Appeal has created a new way for individuals to sue people who invade their private information, a ground-breaking step in the legal system’s attempts to come to terms with the digital age of online record-keeping and communications. With information being generated and stored at a staggering rate, legislation has not kept pace, leaving aggrieved parties no recourse against those who violate their privacy, until now. In his ruling, Judge Sharpe created a new legal tort called “intrusion upon seclusion.” The decision will provide a legal avenue for those whose sexual practices, private correspondence or personal records have been snooped on for no legitimate reason. This poses a threat to companies that fail to safeguard their customers’ private information or allow it to be used for unintended purposes, Toronto lawyer Scott Hutchinson said. The court has placed a $20,000 ceiling on damages, a decision that could encourage malicious behavior and lead individuals with ample resources to violate an individual’s privacy for a small price.

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