April 22, 2015 10:10 am
Updated: April 22, 2015 10:20 am

Release of security video violates Ben Affleck’s privacy: lawyer


TORONTO — The manager of the Nova Scotia gas station Ben Affleck walked into last week said Wednesday he doesn’t regret releasing the security camera footage to the media.

“I didn’t see anything wrong with it,” Mike Gibbon told Global News.

“It’s no different than if I used my phone.”

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But one of Canada’s leading experts on privacy laws disagrees.

“Nope,” David Fraser replied when asked if Gibbon should have released the video.

READ MORE: Ben Affleck fuels up at Nova Scotia gas station

Fraser, a lawyer at McInnes Cooper in Halifax, said Cormier’s Service Station in Cheticamp violated federal privacy laws.

“A commercial establishment does not have the right to disclose this or hand it out,” Fraser told Global News.

Affleck, like any customer, gave implied consent to be recorded on video — but not to have that video shared with the public.

There are exceptions in the privacy rules to allow businesses to share video with law enforcement upon request.

Fraser said if he was so inclined, Affleck could file a complaint with Canada’s privacy commissioner “but I’m not sure what that would get him.”

Petro Canada parent Suncor said the gas station in question is independently owned and operated. Reps for Affleck have not yet responded to media inquiries.

Gibbon said he didn’t have any second thoughts about giving the video to the CBC.

Fraser said media outlets can broadcast or post the security footage of Affleck because they are reporting news.

Further, he said, if a paparazzo had taken a picture of Affleck at the gas station, there would be no legal breach of the actor’s privacy because Affleck was in a public space.

READ MORE: Ben Affleck ’embarrassed’ by slave-owning ancestor

A number of Global News readers shared their thoughts Wednesday after the grainy video showing Affleck at the gas station was posted online.

“Mr. Affleck deserves privacy just like everyone else,” commented Wanda Devison of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. “This was not cool at all.”

On Facebook, Elle Geisser of Vancouver called the video an invasion of privacy. “Those cameras are for security, not for harassing a guy who clearly didn’t want publicity.”

According to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, businesses are required to post signs informing members of the public that they are being electronically monitored.

Access to recorded images “should be granted only to a limited number of authorized individuals” and “any disclosure of video surveillance recordings outside the organization should be justified and documented.”

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