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Michael Binetti quoted in CBA National Magazine: Canada’s new privacy watchdog

Michael Binetti, a partner with Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP, was quoted in the CBA National Magazine article “Canada’s new privacy watchdog” published on June 1, 2020.

The subject of the article is the Competition Bureau’s $9.5 million settlement with Facebook over misleading privacy claims.

Michael is quoted in the article as follows:

“It’s a mistake to see the $9 million as merely symbolic,” said Michael Binetti, who handles corporate litigation at Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP in Toronto. “It sends a message to companies like Facebook that agencies like this can operate across jurisdictions.”

And the Bureau was obliged to render a fine that made sense in the context, he said. “$9 million seems commensurate with the impact,” he said, adding the Bureau would lose all “credibility” if it based the fine on the American one, rather than coming up with a sum that reflects the effect of Facebook’s actions on Canadians.

“The Bureau can’t be arbitrary like that.”

Facebook’s reaction to government pressure over its privacy practices actually suggests a lot about what worries the company most. It’s not contesting the Bureau’s fine, even though it’s insisting that paying the fine doesn’t constitute acceptance of the Bureau’s conclusions.

“Our firm has been on both sides of these conflicts and, yeah, no one ever owns up to the conduct when they pay the fine,” said Binetti. “Without the $5 billion penalty, settling up with Canada might have been a business decision. But with that massive penalty, it looks more like Facebook just rolling with the expected knock-on effect of that earlier ruling.”