Reference re Subsection 18.3(1) of the Federal Courts Act, 2021 FC 723

Justice Gagné - 2021-07-08

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The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has brought a Reference pursuant to subsection 18.3(1) of the Federal Courts Act, which allows a federal office to bring a question or issue of law, of jurisdiction or of practice and procedure to this Court, at any stage of its own proceedings. ... The Complainant states that Google contravenes the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act [PIPEDA] by displaying links to news articles that contained personal and sensitive information about him, when his name is searched using Google’s search engine. ... In my view, every component of that business model is a commercial activity as contemplated by PIPEDA. To have a microscopic look at the free aspect (i.e. no payment in money made) of the search for the user, or to the free aspect of the “library service” provided to news media would be, in my respectful view, a misunderstanding of Google’s business model. All these activities are intertwined, they depend on one another, and they are all necessary components of that business model. ... Therefore, I find that Google’s purposes for collecting, using and disclosing personal information for its search engine service are not journalistic, and they are certainly not exclusively so.

Decision relates to:


Canadian Intellectual Property