Jun 162010
 
 June 16, 2010  Breaches, Business, Court, Non-U.S.

Remember the Canadian woman who is suing Rogers Wireless for consolidating her family’s cell phone bills without her consent, resulting in her husband discovering that she had had an affair? She’s now claiming that there are others out there who have similar complaints about Rogers. Brendan Kennedy reports on the latest in this case:

[…]

Wearing a wig, dark sunglasses and all-black clothing [Gabriella] Nagy claimed 12 other people have come forward with similar stories since her story was first published. Four of them have signed affidavits in support of her lawsuit, she said, and “some are almost carbon copies of my case,” she said.

Nagy claims her husband discovered she was having an affair after the company included her previously private cellphone charges on a “global” invoice that included all of the household’s services, exposing the phone calls she was making to her extramarital lover.

Nagy said federal privacy laws have no teeth and Ontario doesn’t have its own privacy laws, like B.C., Newfoundland, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Read more in the Toronto Star.

Update 6-18-10: Over on Concurring Opinions, Dave Hoffman has a very different view of this case than I have expressed in the comments below.

  11 Responses to “Woman who blames Rogers for exposing affair says she’s not alone”

  1. I don’t believe this is only a “claim”. The Rogers forum on DSLr has seen this many times before. http://www.dslreports.com/forum/rogers

    I think you may even find a few others who spoke up on the DSLr forum in relation to this topic:
    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r24252471-Rogers-privacy-violation-contributes-to-divorce

    BTW, her blog is here:
    http://rogersruinslives.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks so much for posting those links.

      I think some people will be unable to look at the privacy issue because they’ll get blindsided that it was a “cheating” situation. But what if she had some medical condition that she didn’t want her spouse to know about and the calls had been to a doctor? Would people then say that it’s obvious that Rogers had violated her privacy? The nature of the calls shouldn’t distract people from the bigger issue of the carrier’s privacy policy and practices.

  2. The question will come down to, “Did the woman have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to her telephone invoice?” The key word is “reasonable.” Consider that a phone bill received in the mail can be opened by anyone in the house. I can’t imagine that the police would ever charge a woman for opening an invoice addressed to her husband at the same address, nor the other way around. The husband could have opened his wife’s Rogers’ bills at any time before they were consolidated — either by accident or out of simple curiosity. There would be no wrong-doing there (in the eyes of the law). Consolidating the bills does not change that situation, though it may make it more likely that one party will see information that he or she would not normally see. I have no expectation of privacy with respect to the mail that comes into my house. Neither should the woman in this case. If she wanted privacy, she should have changed her mailing address to a P.O. box or some other 3rd party.

    On a philosophical level, trying to keep secrets from your husband or wife is probably futile in the long run and likely damaging to your relationship as well. In other words, this marriage was in trouble long before Rogers consolidated the bills.

    • You raise some good points, but I think that the question is whether she had a reasonable expectation, based on Roger’s own stated privacy policy and contract with her, that Rogers would not share her account records without her authorization.

      Suppose John Doe called Rogers up and said that he wanted them to consolidate another person’s account and claimed that the person was his son/spouse/daughter. And suppose that person was actually just a tenant at the same address. Should Rogers just consolidate on the basis of John Doe’s request and asserted relationship, or should they contact the other party to obtain authorization? I think the latter.

      If she didn’t authorize Rogers to consolidate or share her account information (and she claims that she didn’t), then I think she might have some grounds unless there’s something in their policy that permits non-account holders to authorize changes.

    • Oops, just to update: I see that from Gabriela Nagy’s new blog, neither she nor her husband requested the bundling of the accounts and that she claims this was done without either’s authorization. If that’s accurate, I think Rogers really did screw up unless there’s something in their contract or privacy policy that permits them to make such changes without authorization.

  3. I see something else. Per her blog it’s stated:
    “Not only did they bundle the accounts but they also made my husband the account holder of my wireless account”

    What right does a company have canceling a service under someone else’s name (w/o consent) and then putting it under the name of someone else who isn’t the account holder?

    The bundle situation:

    In one of the press releases Rogers stated they bundled it to save the couple some money.

    /me takes out the violin and sings a love song

    How many here have been called by a Major telecom company who said, “Hey we need to save you 20$ a month that you are giving us for nothing”! heh.

    What I am curious to know is if this “Rogers Bundle” (that so happened to cancel this woman as the account holder, and holder of her own private account history) put them in some sort of new or renewed Rogers contract.

    If it did, then we know this was done purely for financial gain and nothing else. Maybe even a rep making a sales quota and sales commission.

    I also find it funny how Rogers wouldn’t even give the woman the account balance owed due to her no longer being the account holder. Yet they themselves brushed her rights aside and claim the husband asked for it to be put in his name as a bundle (which according to the blog they both refute).

    Now, if this doesn’t grab you as a double standard, I don’t know what will.

    The way I see this as well, and maybe I’m wrong (cuz I’m just A Lemming), but, it seems Rogers more or less also said the man has more rights than the woman.

    So basically any guy in Canada can call up Rogers and say, remove my wife as the account holder on her services, put my name instead and Rogers will do it while at the same time refuse to give a woman any information related to the account she just lost.

    I see a few things in this Rogers love triangle.

    • If the husband didn’t request the bundling or authorize it, then Rogers screwed up.

      If the husband did request it but the account holder wasn’t asked to authorize it, then Rogers screwed up.

      Any way I look at this case, if Nagy is telling the truth that she never authorized or consented to her account being taken over or bundled, then Rogers did her wrong.

  4. On dslreports there is a post:
    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r24254091-

    I checked it out at rogers.com and what is posted there is right on their website. I’ll re-post it here:

    Rogers privacy policy:
    #6 Rogers does not use or disclose personal information for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law.

    Rogers Corporate commitment:
    We will protect your information.

    We will implement whatever measures are necessary to protect your privacy and secure your personal information.

    * We have developed privacy policies and security technologies to protect your personal information that meet or exceed the requirements under federal or applicable provincial law.
    * We have appointed a Chief Privacy Officer who will address your privacy needs or concerns.

    Rogers TOS:
    Confidentiality of Your Information
    29.
    Unless you provide express consent, or disclosure is required pursuant to a legal power, all information regarding you kept by us, other than your name, address and listed telephone number, is confidential and may not be disclosed by us to anyone other than:
    • you;
    • a person who, in our reasonable judgment, is seeking the information as your agent;

  5. Woman suing Rogers over breakup, says she’s not alone
    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2010/06/16/14414556.html

    “Dozens of individuals have come forward who have had their privacy breached by Rogers causing a loss of jobs and marriages. Some are a carbon copy of my story. These individuals are seeking legal council,” said Nagy, who hasn’t ruled out starting a class action lawsuit.

  6. More on the CBC

    Rogers privacy complaints multiplying
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/06/16/con-rogers-suit.html

    A woman suing Rogers Communications over claims that a cellphone bill ruined her marriage says at least a dozen other people have told her the company breached their privacy.

    Gabriella Nagy says four of them have signed affidavits, and she doesn’t rule out a class-action suit.

    […]

    Nagy has set up a Facebook profile called Chirpp — Citizens Helping Individuals Reform Privacy Policies — to encourage others to come forward with complaints of privacy breaches.

    • Yep. That’s all in the story that the original post in this thread links to.

      I contacted Nagy and they’re going to email me copies of the complaint/lawsuit and other documents tomorrow (hopefully), so I may have more on this.

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