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B.C. court finds former Saanich IT manager breached privacy rules to help son

Guy Gondor is alleged to have downloaded personal information to aid son in dispute with neighbours over bylaw violations
A B.C. Supreme Court ruled that Guy Gondor needs to return or destroy any private personal information he copied while working as an IT manager for the District of Saanich (Black Press Media file photo)

A B.C. Supreme Court Justice has sided with the government in a case involving an alleged privacy breach by a former District of Saanich information technology manager.

Guy Gondor was accused in civil court of copying personal information while working for the district, then passing that information along to his son Darian who was involved in a multiple disputes with neighbours and the municipality over bylaw compliance issues.

The B.C. Attorney General sued on behalf of the district, and on June 21 was granted an order requiring Guy Gondor to return or destroy the records and any copies in his possession. It also orders him to disclose the names of any people who were provided copies of the records.

Gondor left his job with the District of Saanich on Feb. 17, 2022, before the allegations were made. He now works at Elections BC as that organization's executive director of information technology, according to the B.C. government staff directory.

The investigation into the elder Gondor began after Darian sent the district an email complaining about his neighbours on March 24, 2022 with two documents attached that contained personal information.

Meanwhile, that same month, someone anonymously sent the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner — the government watchdog that makes sure personal information is kept confidential — two DVDs containing district records that should not have been public without violating privacy rules.

Those DVDs contained the same information Darian Gondor had sent in his email. Darian Gondor had pursued information about his neighbours through Freedom of Information Act requests, but according to court documents, did not obtain this information that way.

So, the district hired accounting firm KPMG to look into the matter.

Undertaking a technical investigation into the privacy breach, KPMG found that someone with Gondor's unique user name was the only person to have copied those particular records to an external location. This occurred on Dec. 23, 2021 and Jan. 24, 2022. The investigation also found those records were burned onto the DVDs on Feb. 14, 2022 — three days before Gondor left his job with the district.

Gondor argues he was copying the records as part of a systems check in which he needed to test a USB port, and needed to copy a large amount of data in a download that would take at least an hour for the test to be effective, testifying the content of the information was irrelevant to him. He also denies he still retains possession of the personal information.

Justice Geoffrey Gomery disagreed, calling Gondor's account "implausible in several ways."

The judge poked numerous holes in Gondor's testimony, calling into question why he would have selected those particular documents to copy, and why the size of the download only took several minutes, instead of the hour claimed by Gondor.

Gondor also argues the work by KPMG was halted prematurely, and that if it continued, evidence would have surfaced to exonerate him.

"I think that most unlikely," the justice wrote in his decision.




About the Author: Mark Page

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