Jennie Buchanan of Lawson Lundell LLP writes:
In ES v Shillington1, a decision issued last month, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recognized the tort of Public Disclosure of Private Facts, a new cause of action that protects private information from public disclosure.2 Formal recognition of this tort in Alberta marks an important development in the law, giving additional legal protection to individuals’ information privacy rights at a time when the proliferation of technology makes it harder and harder to protect private information.
In order to establish liability for the tort of Public Disclosure of Private Facts, the plaintiff must prove that:
- the defendant publicized an aspect of the plaintiff’s private life;
- the plaintiff did not consent to the publication;
- the matter publicized or its publication would be highly offensive to a reasonable person in the position of the plaintiff; and
- the publication as not of legitimate concern to the public.3
Read more on Mondaq.
This ruling may explain why a Canadian firm went running to an Alberta court to try to get an order concerning my reporting about a data breach the firm experienced, but there are significant differences between my reporting on Homewood Health’s breach and the situation in ES v Shillington.