Canada: OPC finds Oculus in breach of PIPEDA for unlawful audio surveillance
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ('OPC') published, on 29 September 2022, its Report of findings No. 2021-008, as issued on 22 March 2021, in which it found that Oculus Transport Ltd. had violated the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act 2000 ('PIPEDA'), following an investigation by the OPC.
Background to the Report
In particular, OPC highlighted that the complainant, a truck driver, alleged that their employer, Oculus, an interprovincial trucking company, collected their personal information for purposes that a reasonable person would not consider appropriate in the circumstances. Specifically, the OPC detailed that the complainant alleged that Oculus collected audio recordings of all conversations that occurred within the cab of their truck, even while they were off-duty.
Findings of the OPC
Following its investigation, the OPC concluded that a reasonable person would not consider the purposes for which Oculus collected and used personal information from its drivers, via its surveillance technology, to be appropriate in the circumstances. In its view, the OPC explained that the personal information collected included conversations that occurred within the cabs while the key was in the ignition and the engine was running, which might have included private conversations with relatives, friends, doctors, or other third parties. Therefore, the OPC determined that the audio collected had the potential to be sensitive.
In conclusion, the OPC detailed that Oculus informed its office that it is no longer using audio surveillance. Therefore, the OPC considered the investigation well-founded and resolved. In addition, the OPC provided that should Oculus decide to implement in-cab audio surveillance in the future, it would expect that they limit the collection of audio to that which is necessary for the achievement of its purposes, taking into account the analysis and findings in its Report.
You can read the Report here.