The registry and privacy

by Aaron Wherry

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews first claimed that long-gun registry data needed to be destroyed lest it fall into the NDP’s hands. Mr. Toews then argued that destroying the data was necessary as a matter of privacy. On the latter point, the privacy commissioner seems not entirely to agree.

Jennifer Stoddart said there’s nothing in the Privacy Act that prevents the federal government from sharing the data with provincial governments. Indeed, the Privacy Commissioner said the act actually permits disclosure of personal information, provided it’s done through a federal-provincial agreement for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation.




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The registry and privacy

  1. another aspect of this extraodinary confused issue is that the licensing process already contains much if not all of the data covered by the registry. If i’m correct this raises two obvious questions: why on earth wasn’t a registry not simply taken off existing data? And what are the libertarians yelling about – the police already know where the guns are; indeed if this is the case what on earth was the purpose of the registry at all? Evidentaly there has been a great deal of ignorant and possibly malicious politicking around this issue – from both cons and libs; none of it has served us well.

    • So, you’re saying that you’re asked to tell the government what guns you own when you get licensed?  ‘Cause I don’t think that’s true.

      • I’m still not absolutely clear n the procedure but I’ve just taken an FAC [safety] course. After getting the paper work through[ which may take up to 9 months!!] i can transport my daughter’s biathlon rifle, buy ammo for her, or even purchase a non restricted  firearm[long gun]. It is my understanding that the licensing info i submit is available for a police check. In effect they will know what firearms i am licensed to possess – if not exactly where they are stored.

        • If you buy a non restricted firearm though, I don’t think you’ll be under any obligation to tell anyone.

          Also, are you REQUIRED to mention your daughter’s biathlon rifle as part of the licensing process, and if so, is that just to give you “permission” to transport someone ELSE’s firearm?

          • I’ll have to have another word with the course instructor and get back to you. The same thing occurred to me – how do they know about the existing gun[ this is registered to the club by the way - not our own property] There is also the question of guns purchased second hand. I pretty much took my pov from a policeman on Cross country check-up, who seemed to be clearly stating that the license check was available to him at anytime.  

          • Interesting. It certainly makes sense to me that the license check would be available to the police, but it’s the bit about it including a list of owned firearms that seems strange to me. Also, kinda pointless by itself. After all, even if you had to list firearms you own when you fill out the license, if you don’t have to register firearms you buy later, that seems pretty silly.

          • The way the law would work, and has worked prior to the registry, is the police would know what KIND of firearm you are allowed to own, restricted or non restricted.  Other than that, they don’t need to know anything more. 

          • phreddy

            Thx. I eventually figured that out. One even odder fact is that it is also possible to buy a SHand weapon from a licensed owner while not being licensed yourself. How often that happens i’ve no idea – hopefully rarely.

  2. OMG this is SO stupid.

    That the Privacy Act says that the federal government CAN share private information with the provinces does not mean that the Privacy Act OBLIGES the federal government to share information with the provinces.  Could it really be called the Privacy Act if the act REQUIRED the federal government to share private information about citizens with the provinces???

    Not to mention, if the Privacy Act allows the feds to share private information with the provinces “for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation” and the feds have established that the long-gun registry is being ended, and can’t be accessed any more for the purposes of investigations, what purpose is there to keeping the private data contain therein???

  3. So, you’re saying that you’re asked to tell the government what guns you own when you get licensed?  ‘Cause I don’t think that’s true.

    • Please ignore the above.  It was a reply to kcm2, but when I deleted it in Disqus to put the reply in the correct place it just took my handle off the comment and didn’t actually delete it!

  4. Sharing data that is no longer up to date or current is not legal. Once the registration of long guns is abolished, records data will cease to contain accurate information. If police enforcement enter into a dwelling without a search warrant on the basis of old data(long guns formerly registered to the person/residence), the search is illegal under the Criminal Code due to the lack of probable cause. Without current data, the fact that a person may have gotten rid of their long guns, would not be known. It would also be a violation of the Charter of Rights & Freedoms to be free from unreasonable search. Once the law suits begin and as soon as the municipal and provincial governments start paying millions in judgements for illegal searches, the folly of this flawed and emotional thinking will be understood.  

    • And believe me, although I don’t have anything to hide, on principal I would sue them for breaching my privacy.  That’s one of the few things this country has left and I won’t let them take that away sitting down.

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