Christine Dobby reports:
A Romanian website that says it’s dedicated to keeping ‘information free and open’ is raising difficult questions about how much personal information should be included in Canadian legal rulings.
Over the past year, close to 100 people have complained to the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), after coming across legal decisions that mention their names through Google searches. The rulings are public information, but most are shocked to see the details of their court cases – often family law, criminal or immigration matters – on the Internet for anyone to read.
Read more on Globe and Mail. This case has a number of factors to consider, including the fact that the rulings were obtained (perhaps illegally, it seems) from the CanLII site, and at various times, the Romanian site operator has required a fee to remove personal documents. At other times, he has reportedly claimed that only a request is necessary to secure removal of the documents.
But putting aside the issue of fee for removal for now, how is this any different than someone downloading files from PACER or state courts, and uploading them to their own site, where they might be indexed by Google?
What’s the solution when it comes to court records where the presumption is that they are public records?