Paradise making changes in wake of privacy commissioner's reports

Donovan Molloy had described certain actions as "grossly negligent" and "careless at best" in his reports.

Town destroyed 2017 election records, and erased surveillance video from rink

The Town of Paradise says it accepts both recommendations of privacy commissioner Donovan Molloy. (CBC)

The Town of Paradise says it accepts recommendations in two recent reports from Newfoundland and Labrador's privacy commissioner. 

Specifically, the town said Wednesday it will revise its policy that dictates how election-related records are kept.

That follows a request by someone for records relating to the 2017 municipal election in the town. The council said it destroyed those records, in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act.

Privacy commissioner Donovan Molloy noted that council destroyed some records that weren't covered by that part of the law.

"While there is insufficient evidence to find that the town destroyed these records with the intent to evade the access request, the destruction was careless at best," Molloy wrote.

Video surveillance footage erased

Molloy's second report looked at a request made by someone for town video surveillance footage at the Paradise Double Ice Complex.

The town said no, because of personal privacy reasons. But no one had actually looked at the video to see if there was anyone identifiable in it.

In fact, weeks before sending that response, the footage was erased from the system. Molloy again did not conclude that it was an intentional act on behalf of the town, but called the failure to preserve these records "grossly negligent."

Molloy did not conclude the destruction of election records or video footage was done to evade the information request. (Submitted photo)

"The system was formatted to maintain data for 30 days and then automatically overwrite the data. Unfortunately, the storage capability of the system was such that it reached capacity prior to the 30-day period," the town said in a media release issued Wednesday.

The town said it will get the storage capacity to "preserve all video surveillance recordings ... and [get] the capacity to de-identify persons recorded by its surveillance cameras."

Both of the changes Molloy requested have been adopted by the Town of Paradise and staff have received training related to the Access to Information and Protection Privacy Act (ATIPPA).

The town "is committed to ensuring that the required policies and procedures are in place and practiced by staff,"  according to the statement issued by the town. 

It said staff will also make a greater effort to help when requests are made for information. 

With files from Rob Antle