Compliance Management, Privacy

Data privacy issue on dating site

Canada's privacy commissioner has launched an investigation against an online dating service.

The investigation stems from a complaint the commissioner received early in 2010 from an individual who was concerned about what the owners of the website do with personal information once an account is deactivated. The commissioner cannot divulge the name of the website while the investigation is underway.

“This is the first complaint we have investigated dealing with an online dating site,” says spokesperson Anne-Marie Hayden. “The investigation focuses on issues surrounding data retention.”

Hayden went on to clarify media accounts that compared the dating site investigation to the commissioner's highly publicized investigation of Facebook, noting that the complaint against the social networking site was much broader in nature.

According to the commissioner's office, investigations are undertaken when complaints are “of a serious, systemic or otherwise complex nature,” and are only resorted to if a complaint cannot be otherwise resolved.

In 2009, 76 of 231 complaints were settled through mediation. An attempt at mediation between the complainant and the dating service was unsuccessful.

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