February 08, 2007 04:30 AM
After accidentally posting a list of thousands of brokers and the number
of complaints against them on the Web, the Investment Dealers
Association of Canada is trying to regain control of the information and
minimize any damage done.
Lawyers for the IDA have sent a letter to Robert Kyle, who discovered
the list on the IDA's website and has since posted it to his own
website. Kyle, the former director of the Consumers Council of Canada
and the Small Investor Protection Association, has been openly critical
of the IDA's ability to adequately regulate the industry. The IDA is a
national self-regulatory organization of the securities industry.
"You must immediately remove from your website the information relating
to IDA members and brokers," the letter states. "The IDA does not accept
any responsibility as a result of your unauthorized and wrongful
publication and disclosure of the information in any way and, further,
will hold you responsible for any loss or damages incurred as a result
of you doing so."
Last month, Kyle discovered that when he double-clicked on a graph on
the IDA's website, up came raw data that was used to make the graph,
including a spreadsheet with names of brokers and the number of customer
complaints, civil claims, criminal claims, internal investigations,
internal disciplinary actions and external disciplinary actions against
The data, which includes complaints from late 2002 to mid-2005, was on
the IDA's website for more than a year before he came across it.
It was drawn from ComSet, a confidential database the IDA uses to assess
the relative risk of its member firms, their branches, or the
individuals working for them.
The letter from the IDA's lawyers, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, says "even
though it became possible to access such information through charts
posted on the IDA website, there ought not to be any such access and, if
accessed, information ought not to have been copied. The IDA has
indicated that the information, as far as it is concerned, remains
The IDA removed the information from its own website in late January,
after it became aware that it could be accessed by the public.
"I don't know even whether I will respond to that letter," Kyle said
yesterday. "I think it's clear ... that the IDA breached the
confidentiality they had with their members by posting it on the Web in
the first instance."
Jeff Kehoe, the IDA's director of enforcement litigation, said yesterday
that the IDA's inadvertent disclosure of the information doesn't negate
the fact that it's confidential.
Kyle "has a responsibility, and obligation, to remove confidential
information from his website, and any damages or potential harm flow to
him, not the IDA," Kehoe said.
No legal action has been taken against the IDA as a result of the
privacy breach, Kehoe said. "We have been working with the membership
and the industry to deal with the information that Mr. Kyle has
disclosed." The IDA and Kyle have been at odds before. The organization
fined Kyle for failing to co-operate with an investigation. The dispute
has not been settled.