Within this speech from Colin McKay he touches on many elements that the industry of investigating and public and private contain. McKay mentions vital information in this article and provides the reader with a lot of context on what a future investigator may go through or what to expect when it comes to protecting personal information today.
1. Define Modus Operandi.
When defining a Modus Operandi, it can be generalized as the way someone operates with recurring tendencies, however the Latin term is “method of operating”.
A term, that can be demonstrated by the accused of an unlawful action such as: a culprit burglarizing apartments on the same level of buildings, within the hours of 11pm to 5am, wears dark clothes with a book bag hanging on right-hand side, poses as a tenant of said buildings to gain access. The perpetrator once inside a residence will proceed to thieve small expensive items such as jewelry, money, laptops, tablets, cellphones and other small concealed items to maintain his appearance and causality to the members of the building.
When mentioning the term modus operandi its frequently used in criminal cases, an often-used abbreviation is the words initials “M. O”. Although not vital in cases, prosecutors are not required to provide a modus operandi in any criminal offense. Granted, proving there is a correlation and determining the “M. O” will help prosecutors verify that it was the offender who committed the offense.
Information regarding modus operandi tends to be viewed as a faint evidence source rather than a direct source of evidence, because it is can be viewed as a piece of circumstantial evidence whereas a direct piece of evidence can be physically linked with the crime that has been committed. However, it can still play a crucial role if the prosecution can make a credible showing of reoccurring crimes and the crime charged to the defendant. The prosecution may also bring former evidence to confirm that there is a modus operandi, if the other crimes have a resemblance with the offense that is being charged.
The prosecution does not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there are and have been a modus operandi involved with the charged persons. However, The prosecution must only provide adequate proof to show the crime had taken place and was committed by the defendant.
An investigator may use the modus operandi method to collect data by looking at the defendant’s previous criminal past and looking for any similarities between the crimes the perpetrator has committed and with the current crime they are being charged with. For instance, this method could be used in the consent form case mentioned in the article. Investigators can look at the company and if they were to see that this company that is under investigation is having employees sign not only the provincial consent form, but the companies own issued consent form for personal information. They can take that modus operandi and use it as a prosecution method as a means of a recurring offense against individuals personal data. Giving the prosecution a strong well-founded “M. O.” against the company under examination.
2. What is “fishing” and is it acceptable.
When McKay mentions the term “fishing” he’s referring to the fact that some investigators when surveilling a person, they tend to view the targets interactions with third party members to be uncertain, so they tend to “take more context” from any interactions involving the person under investigation. They do this so that on a whim that what they may have a jotted down could come to relevancy as the investigation proceeds. This is unacceptable in many instances for not only in some cases could it be considered fabricating evidence, but it is also considered. Using this tactic could have drastic effects on the investigators trustworthiness and reputation with companies, courts, and judges.
3. Does the commissioner view covert surveillance necessary, and if so what does the commission view as correct use of covert surveillance?
Covert Surveillance is the act of investigating without the suspect’s acknowledgment. This tactic is most effective when the person or company is unaware of said surveillance, typical this is performed by tailing someone in a car or on foot, taking photographs from a concealed area, or using surveillance equipment such as a voice recorder or GPS tracking devices. However, when it comes to covert surveillance the privacy commissioner has mixed opinions on the action, he understands and acknowledges that it is a necessity when undergoing a deep investigation and how crucial the information uncovered by covert surveillance can be. However, he also has some disagreements involving the act of covert surveillance when there is an ongoing investigation and innocent unrelated third-party members are included. McKay believes that investigators tend to go beyond their grounds when searching for evidence. For instance, Colin McKay mentions that investigators “seem to let their inner cowboy out”. He is referring to the fact that sometimes during surveillance there will be third parties included who aren’t under investigation. This is not only an infraction of the personal privacy of third party members, but it also goes against the persons consent to collect information.
4. What are some consent issues mention by Colin McKay in the article?
Consent is always a very important part of any personal or professional task, in the article the writer mentions two examples that are both different but have some resemblances to each other. The first example is explained as an individual coming to the investigation company and informing them that they were asked to sign a standard consent form internally with the inclusion of the provincial standard consent forms. The client had a concern that the company wanted “carte blanche”, to collect her personal information. With the investigating company’s findings, the insurance company discontinued the use of internal consent forms the company was providing its employees with and now relies solely on the provincial standard consent forms.
With the second case, the complainant had made an accusation that an insurance company had revealed his personal medical information to his employer. The complainant included a denial of benefits letter, which was sent by the company to the complainant’s employer and it was taken into consideration if the information could be considered medical. The insurance company also acknowledge that there was a “restricted consent form” rather than its standard forms which “indicated that an additional written consent”. With the company’s view they believed that no medical information about the complainant had been disclosed since there had been no “definitive prognosis nor diagnosis”. Nonetheless, the view of the investigating company was that medical information can be deemed as delicate information. Ensuing a conversation with the investigation company it was a settled upon a new form that refreshed employees regarding relevant personal and medical information. The complainant was proven and resolved.