The Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner found that Legal Aid Saskatchewan was in violation of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as a result of a file going missing at the courthouse.
This interesting decision shows that lawyers too must be careful with how they handle and secure personal information in client files. It is not only stolen laptops or compromised servers that can cause a privacy breach; it can be a misplaced file, a stolen file holder or briefcase, or a misplaced trial binder.
Locking your brief case and putting away files while in court or in a meeting room should be the minimum that one does to secure a client's personal information contained in file.
In this case, it is suggested that one secure a brief case with a bike lock to a table or railing in the court house if left unattended. Is this a reasonable measure or going a bit extreme?
Legal Aid Saskatchewan reported the privacy breach to the Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commission the following day. As a result of the incident, officials at Legal Aid Saskatchewan say the organization is now considering having staff use anti-theft cabling for their briefcases when at different court locations.