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Postmedia News

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Sep 17, 2020  •   •  1 minute read

Privacy complaints were filed against Wayne Bennett, mayor of the town of Howley, NL. Photo by Wayne Bennett /Twitter

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Local authorities are being told they cannot name and shame people suspected of breaching the Quarantine Act in Newfoundland and Labrador.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the province’s privacy commissioner made the ruling following two complaints against Wayne Bennett, the mayor of Howley, population 200.

“An individual’s name is personal information,” wrote Commissioner Michael Harvey. “There is no evidence the named individuals had consented to this.”

A week after the outbreak of the pandemic, Bennett took to Facebook and posted a neighbour’s name who he claimed had returned from out-of-province travel but didn’t self-isolate and went “shopping upon arrival from her trip.”

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Another resident complained to the privacy commission about being “harassed” by the Mayor.

“Get the village idiots off the streets!” the Mayor subsequently wrote on Twitter.

Bennett later deleted his Facebook posts after the complaints were filed.

The commissioner concluded the Mayor should have minded his business.

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“There was no role for the Town of Howley in enforcing these orders and no employee or elected official in the Town of Howley required this information for the performance of their duties,” wrote Harvey.

At the time of the complaints, there was one case of COVID-19 infection in the district.

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