June 18, 2021

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Data breach in Desjartins | A judge catches VAT on the protection of evidence

The TVA Group does not have to hand over the entire interview with the key suspect in the massive Desjardins personal data leak to Sarat to Quebec (SQ). Although he agrees with the broadcaster, the court ruled that the TVA did not respect its commitment to protect its press sources.


Louis-Samuel Perron

Louis-Samuel Perron
Press

If it were Group TVA Inc. we would not be where we are. He respected the confidentiality of his journalism and protected the identity of his witnesses, “said Judge Alexandre Dalmov in his decision in Montreal court on Thursday.

As part of its criminal investigation into the Desjardins leak, SQ wanted the full version of the interview with former Desjardins employee and first suspect in the Sebastian Bowlinger-Dorval investigation. This interview was shown as part of the show J.E. In October 2019. The broadcaster competed against an order received by SQ.

Photo Pascal Cancel, archiving the sun

Sebastian Bowlinger-Dorwall

Judge Dalmov believes such orders are “exceptional” so as not to harm the “essential” work of the media. It is essential that the “reasonable” actions of the media and journalists not be harmed, “that their professional status truly protects the identity of their sources”.

The judge explains that journalists J.E. The verdict gave the individuals named “A and B” the confidentiality of their arguments – that is, Sebastian Bowlinger-Dorval and his wife at the time – however, disregarded this assertion. An unpublished part of the interview shows that individuals left themselves to reporters only after receiving a guarantee of anonymity. However, a promise was broken during the broadcast of the report.

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Although the TVA panel did not identify them as press sources by identifying them, Judge Dalmov considered them to some extent fulfilling the definition of press sources. Therefore, the fact that the interview was postponed to SQ may lead to fears that other evidence may be “betrayed” by a journalist who has in a way become the “hand of the state.”

According to the judge, the DVA group may have identified “A” as a suspect in the case, while not disclosing that he was the source of the information that led journalists to other associates.

In addition, viewing the full interview allows the judge to conclude that “almost all” of the information provided by Sebastian Bowlinger-Dorval was broadcast, despite the narrator’s “somewhat sensational” comments about the existence of unpublished information.

“” Unpublished “section [du reportage] The need to resort to a product order is made up of very unstable or useful elements for the investigation that do not exist in practice, ”the judge concludes.

However, the judge ordered the DVA board to provide the SQ with a complete record of the conversation with the third person clearly identified in the report, but he was not considered a press source.