Releasing vague information not likely to identify individuals

Complaint: Citing section 19, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) withheld as personal information the locations from which officers had seized improperly stored firearms in individual residences affected by a flood.

Investigation: The descriptions of the locations ranged from vague (“in residence”) to more specific (“closet of master bedroom” and “under the bed in the bedroom”). The RCMP argued that releasing such information could make it possible to identify the homeowners. The OIC did not agree.

Outcome: The RCMP released the information.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • Descriptions of the locations of improperly stored firearms do not qualify as information about an identifiable individual, and therefore may not be protected under section 19.
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