The Panama Papers Database: Canada’s Biggest Intentional Privacy Breach?

The leak of the confidential files of a Panamanian law firm, dubbed the “Panama Papers,” has generated much press coverage, but there has been surprisingly little comment about the privacy rights of those named in, or linked to, the disclosures. It seems obvious that the public exposure of the personal information (“PI”) contained in the documents that were unlawfully obtained by an anonymous hacker raises serious privacy concerns for those individuals who are named. In fact, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (“ICIJ”) and other media outlets could well be facing regulatory complaints or even tort claims for unauthorized use of PI and/or invasion of privacy under Canadian law. If so, the release of PI by ICIJ members could qualify as the largest intentional privacy breach ever made in Canada by an identifiable entity.

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