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Canadian tax info could potentially be accessed by US gov't agencies

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – When you think about your personal tax information, where do you assume it’s being stored?

With the Canadian government — or with a foreign corporation?

We’ve discovered our information is actually being stored by an American company, and a local privacy association says that is a concern.

The Canada Revenue Agency has confirmed a contract was awarded in May of last year to Mobilshred Incorporated, operating as Recall.

Our information has been stored there since January.

Recall is headquartered in Georgia — and its legal team says it would go along with any subpoenas issued to it — including any that use the Patriot Act┬áto get information.

Vincent Gogolek with the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association says that means information could potentially be accessed by US government agencies without your knowledge.

“The way the Patriot Act is written, it allows American law enforcement and intelligence services to go to essentially write demand letters to the organization and say we want this stuff handed over, and the Patriot Act prevents that company from even letting you know that they’ve received that demand, and whether or not they’ve complied with it and handed over your information.”
There are reassurances through the Sovereign Immunities Act that it wouldn’t be especially likely for records held by our government to be sought through a subpoena.

“This is a variation of ‘you don’t to worry if you don’t have something to hide.’ You know like if you haven’t come to the attention of the FBI or somebody else, you don’t have to worry about your information being accessed. Well you know, the NSA is out there, busily scooping up all of our e-mails. They’re throwing a very, very wide net. It’s also a question of what should our government be doing with our information? They’re looking to improve their bottom line, by putting our personal information at risk. If that’s what they’re doing, well, that’s a problem, especially if they’ve identified it as a problem for their own information.”

Gogolek says the Canadian Government took measures last year to keep American companies from building a government e-mail system.

He says it’s been found the Patriot Act was the reason the Canadian Government didn’t want a US company taking on the project.

Gogolek suggests this is an issue we should be questioning our Members of Parliament about.