EDITORIAL: Saanich should launch independent investigation of spyware scandal

The use of Spector 360 involved the collection of personal information in violation of provincial privacy law

Saanich council should call for an independent body to investigate the spyware scandal.

The use of Spector 360 involved the collection of personal information in violation of provincial privacy law as determined by B.C. Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

There are some who still debate the seriousness of that fact. Some councillors and District officials balked after Denham relayed the “near-complete lack of awareness and understanding of the privacy provisions” in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act she observed from the staff members she interviewed.

Under Denham’s mandate, she was able to offer recommendations or orders as a result of her investigation. She chose the former option, believing the District would act quickly to address her concerns. It seems the municipality and elected officials support doing just that, but only when it comes to implementing Denham’s tightly restricted administrative recommendations. What Denham was unable to answer, what was left hanging after her report – and what council displayed an unwillingness to clearly address in the public arena on Monday night – was whether there was malicious intent when Spector 360 was installed on the computer of Mayor Richard Atwell, the Chief Administrative Officer and 11 others. Instead, council picked apart Atwell’s complex set of motions and chose instead to ask for an internal staff report on the murky period between Nov. 19 and Jan. 20, when spyware was deemed a reasonable fix to IT security shortcomings. Now, senior staff – with the exception of interim CAO Andy Laidlaw – will be reporting back to council in-camera on their own highly questionable decision made after a single meeting with no minutes for reference. Council said it will then decide how to proceed.

A motion for an independent investigation didn’t make it onto the floor on Monday. Atwell said he thought it was doomed to fail, based on the opposition to his other motions. But he or another councillor should have put it forward, if only to demonstrate the lack of support for such a move.

It’s proper to give staff a chance to explain themselves in most cases, but independent review is necessary when those implicated are investigating themselves. What was needed Monday night was resolve. What council demonstrated was its fractured dysfunction.

 

Just Posted

Sidney Mounties and Saanich PD nab break and enter suspect

Police forces work together to arrest and charge Saanich resident

Queue up a playlist of Victoria musicians

Local guitarist, Cody Rueger, creates playlist to highlight Victoria’s music scene

Block party hosted in Oak Bay to welcome two young Syrian refugees

Funds raised will support the brothers for first year on Island

Sooke’s John Muir community school garden is a growing experience

Children thrive as they learn about the source of their food

Plans for Colwood’s Royal Beach property moving forward

Seacliff Properties to hold open house on June 25

VIDEO: B.C. First Nation plans to launch legal challenge after Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan says he’ll continue to defend the B.C. coast

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

B.C. auditor says Indigenous grad rate highest ever but education gaps exist

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools has hit its highest level ever

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

BREAKING: Forest fire on North Island disrupts Hwy. 19

Wildfire has reached .25 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

Most Read