Can mobile carriers be liable for divorce? I guess we’ll find out soon enough. There was a story in the Toronto Star this morning that told of a woman who is suing Rogers for $600,000 because her husband left her. She alleges this was caused by Rogers taking the liberty of sending her husband a consolidated bill when he signed up for internet and home phone. They apparently then lumped in her cell phone bill, which she alleges she did not request. When the husband saw the bill and noticed a series of long phone calls, he called the number and apparently found out about his wife’s affair.
Needless to say, Rogers is asserting that it is not liable, primarily it seems on the basis of lack of causality – i.e. it was the affair that led to the break-up, not the disclosure of personal information. Of course the wife will argue that the break-up would not have happened but for Rogers disclosure, which is likely alleged to be in contravention of her agreement with Rogers or the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Interestingly, on the latter front, she apparently did not choose to make a complaint to the federal privacy commissioner, instead deciding to proceed by way of a statement of claim in the Ontario Superior Court.
I have my doubts as to the likelihood of her success. Despite the unfortunate circumstance she and her two young children now find themselves, I don’t think the courts will have much sympathy for her claim. Even if there were a breach by Rogers, I’m not sure how much in the way of damages she would be awarded. The question here would be whether the court believes the damages would have been foreseeable by Rogers. I think that would be unlikely. But who knows. In any event, I’m sure this is a case that The Ashley Madison Agency will be following very closely.