Stop automatically disclosing suicide attempts: privacy czar to cops



Anna Mehler Paperny

Global News

April 14, 2014



Stop sharing information on individuals’ suicide attempts with other police forces unless the people in question pose a danger to others, Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner is telling police.

Ann Cavoukian’s report, due out Monday morning and obtained by Global News, was sparked by stories of multiple Canadians being refused entry to the United States because U.S. border officials found information on their previous suicide attempts or threats of suicide – some from years earlier – and decided that made them unfit to enter the country.

“Understandably,” Cavoukian writes, “the individuals involved were shocked that U.S. border officials were able to gain access to information about their mental health. Their stories … raised serious privacy issues regarding the sharing of one’s sensitive health information. On learning of these events, including hearing of the pain and embarrassment caused by the denials of entry, I decided to conduct an investigation to determine exactly how and why this was happening.

“I kept wondering – how could this be happening in my jurisdiction, where personal health information is so strongly protected?”


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