Canada Dashboard Digest

PIN Messages Highlight Technology Challenges to FOI

INFORMATION ACCESS

February 3, 2012

With new technology and devices come new challenges to ensuring accountability and transparency in government. Highlighting this is the question of how to manage messages transmitted through the Blackberry private messaging service known as "PINs," reports the Ottawa Citizen. After being questioned on the matter by the Citizen, Ottawa's city clerk and solicitor said staff "have not specifically considered them in the course of processing and responding to access requests because they are not used to dealing with PIN messages as responsive records for the purpose of access to information requests" and that staff dealing with such requests are to review PIN messages. Brian Beamish, Ontario's assistant information and privacy commissioner, says if the messages relate to city business, they are covered under the Privacy Act, but "It's not an issue we've dealt with."
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