Express Confidentiality Order Okay Protection for Customer Personal Information

On March 11th, the British Columbia Supreme Court ordered two directors of a plaintiff corporation to sign a confidentiality agreement as a means of protecting customer information. The defendant had proposed a more costly masking procedure.

The dispute was about an online retail business. The plaintiff claimed damages for failure to account for profits and for the return of two customer databases. The databases themselves were themselves relevant to either one or both claims. The defendant, in custody of the databases, proposed a masking procedure to be paid for by the plaintiff to protect against the disclosure of customer personal information, including customer addresses, e-mail addresses and credit card numbers.

Armstrong J. held that privacy concerns of non-parties should be addressed in determining the scope of documentary discovery, but stressed the court’s discretion and the presumed efficacy of the implied undertaking. In the circumstances, he held that a masking order was not warranted.

Animal Welfare International Inc. v. WS International Media Ltd., 2011 BCSC 299.

Redaction preferred to sealing says court

The Federal Court of Appeal issued an illustrative order on January 6th in which it rejected a consent motion to seal documents that included the appellant’s SIN number. Instead, it ordered the respondent to redact and re-file. For some reason the Attorney-General filed the documents with SIN numbers for a second time on appeal after the appellant sought protection of the same information in the lower court hearing.

Grace Singer v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 FCA 3 (CanLII).