Alberta privacy commissioner investigates leak of MLA’s cellphone bill

Alberta's privacy commissioner is investigating a government department for leaking a politician's cellphone bill.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s privacy commissioner is investigating a government department for leaking a politician’s cellphone bill.

Commission spokesman Scott Sibbald said Monday that the controversial bill belonged to former cabinet minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

It was leaked to the Edmonton Sun in August, and showed Lukaszuk had rung up more than $20,000 in international data roaming charges on a personal trip to Poland and Israel in 2012.

Lukaszuk has said that another cabinet minister called him in distress at the time, and his office fought with the service provider to have the bill reduced.

He said the cabinet minister told him violence was involved and police were on the way, so he stayed on the line with the person until officers came.

The next day, Lukaszuk – who was deputy premier at the time – said he contacted the premier’s office. After documents were transmitted and a video conference was held via cellphone, it was determined it was a personal matter involving the cabinet minister’s sibling, and not work-related. He says that was the end of it, and adds he was just doing his job.

He apologized for the cost and said that it had only become an issue because of the Tory leadership race.

The bill was sent to the newspaper a couple of weeks before Lukaszuk lost his bid to become premier.

Sibbald said no one complained to the office about the leak and it was the commissioner who initiated the investigation into Service Alberta because the bill contained the private information of other people.

“There were other cellphone numbers which are deemed personal information,” said Sibbald. “They were not released in accordance with the (Freedom of Information and Privacy) Act.”

Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton said in a statement that she advocates proactive disclosure of information to promote accountability and transparency.

“However, there are ways to protect personal information when disclosing this type of information under the FOIP Act, and I’m concerned about the security of Service Alberta’s system to protect the privacy of individuals.”

A spokeswoman for Service Alberta did not return calls for comment.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

People watch the sun set in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
OPEC cartel, allies face decision on increasing oil output

OPEC Plus made deep cuts in output in 2020 to stave off a collapse in prices

The Twitter Canada office in Toronto is shown in this undated handout photo. Twitter Inc. will be bulking up on Canadian talent this year with a hiring spree meant to add dozens of engineers in the country to its staff. The San Francisco, Calif.-based social media giant said Thursday that it plans to form its first Canadian engineering hub with at least 24 new workers it will soon hire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Twitter Canada
Twitter to launch engineering hub in Canada with dozens of hires this year

Twitter says technical talent has been evolving in the Canada recently

Jim Lowes, a living kidney donor who was inspired by Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim Logan Boulet, is photographed at his home in Burlington, Ont., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Green Shirt Day, April 7, was started after the crash that killed 16 people and coincides with the anniversary of Logan Boulet’s death. Boulet’s family donated his organs after the crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Three years after Broncos bus crash, Logan Boulet still inspiring organ donation

Nearly 147,000 Canadians registered to be donors in two months

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on July 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Kielburger brothers decline request to testify before ‘partisan’ Commons committee

Brothers have already testified at the Commons finance committee

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2019 file photo, Alex Kurtzman, from left, Heather Kadin, Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck participate in the “Star Trek: Discovery” show panel during the CBS All Access presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. Paramount+ debuts Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the latest — and last — streaming option from a major media company, this time from ViacomCBS. The company hopes its smorgasbord of offerings — live sports and news, reboots of its properties like “Frasier” and “Rugrats,” original shows like “Star Trek: Discovery” and the ViacomCBS library will entice viewers(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
Will Paramount+ be a mountain or a molehill in streaming?

Over the last year and a half more and more streaming services have debuted

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Manchester United's Fred, left, and Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park stadium in London, England, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP)
Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) dunks as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The undermanned Toronto Raptors, down five players and six members of their coaching staff due to health and safety protocols, are scheduled to host the Detroit Pistons in their first action since last Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carlos Osorio
Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Most Read