Earlier today, I discussed the case of Colonel Russell Williams in the context of victims’ privacy, but there’s another aspect to his case that also relates to privacy. Mary Gazze reports:
The Canadian Forces says it will not change the way it handles the private information of staff even after it was revealed Russell Williams abused his military authority to target one of his victims.
Over four days of gruesome evidence and heart-wrenching victim statements, court heard that Mr. Williams — as then commander of Canada’s busiest airbase, CFB Trenton — used his authority to learn Corporal Marie-France Comeau’s schedule and address…. Mr. Williams, who was stripped of his rank of colonel Friday, used that information to break into her home, where he repeatedly beat, raped, and ultimately murdered her.
Read more in the Globe and Mail.
This is a difficult access control issue. David Zweig, professor of human resources at the University of Toronto is quoted in the story as saying that organizations, including the military, should ensure that most personal data is in a secure location with access available only to human resources staff, he said.
Only contact information and work schedules should be readily available to managers, Mr. Zweig said, acknowledging that safeguard would not have been enough to protect Cpl. Comeau.
As much as I want to see greater privacy protections, some situations seem to defy all reasonable safeguards. This case may be one of them.