Federal Court issues judgment against Globe24h and awards damages for privacy breach

The Federal Court has recently issued its judgment in the application against Romania-based website Globe24h.com. This case follows the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s PIPEDA Report of Findings #2015-002 “Website that generates revenue by republishing Canadian court decisions and allowing them to be indexed by search engines contravened PIPEDA”.

Globe24h was republishing Canadian court decisions, allowing them to be indexed by search engines, and demanding a fee for them to be removed. The website received a great deal of media attention and many complaints were filed under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act  alleging that the operator of the website collected, used and disclosed personal information without consent and for inappropriate purposes. Globe24h argued that  it was “dedicated to keeping information free and open“. It did not contest that it was republishing the decisions, but argued that it did not need consent to do so because the data was obtained from “publicly available sources.” I have summarized the PIPEDA Report of Findings #2015-002 in another blog post.

The Federal Court in this recent case discusses various interesting issues including the open courts principle as well as extraterritoriality issues in a digital age. The Court found that the defendant contravened PIPEDA by collecting, using and disclosing on his website, www.Globe24h.com, personal information contained in Canadian court and tribunal decisions for inappropriate purposes and without the consent of the individuals concerned. It ordered the defendant to remove all Canadian court and tribunal decisions containing personal information from Globe24h.com and take the necessary steps to remove these decisions from search engines caches and to refrain from further copying and republishing Canadian court and tribunal decisions containing personal information in a manner that contravenes PIPEDA. The court also ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiff damages in the amount of $5000.


This content has been updated on February 3, 2017 at 8 h 32 min.