Case Report – Court orders identity of Gmail user to be disclosed… good discussion of balancing of interests

12 Sep

On September 9th, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered Bell and Rogers to identify an individual who used a gmail account to communicate allegedly defamatory statements about York University and its president. The case is notable for two points. First, it contains a relatively detailed discussion of the balancing of interests factor and the privacy interests of the anonymous poster. Strathy J. considered that both Bell and Rogers had privacy policies and terms of service that lowered the individual’s expectation of privacy. Second, Strathy J. held that, in some circumstances, an individual whose identity may be disclosed should be given notice of the proceeding and an opportunity to participate. He did not elaborate, but held that York’s failure to give notice in this case did not tip the balance against making an order.

York University v. Bell Canada Enterprises, 2009 CanLII 46447 (ON S.C.).

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