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Edmonton Council Votes To Review Privacy Policies Over Secrecy Concerns

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The city of Edmonton has voted unanimously to work on its privacy policies, days after a coucillor accused council of keeping too many secrets.

Coun. Mike Nickel raised his concerns before council on Tuesday morning, citing concerns that the city's privacy rules are not transparent enough.

He says rulings have kept items like FOIP requests and portions of council minutes from seeing the light.

Currently, closed-door discussions at city council are kept private from the public — minutes or audio of the meetings are never posted, even after matters are resolved.

The city has also denied seemingly innocuous freedom of information requests, The Edmonton Journal reported.

Earlier this year, a University of Alberta professor was told that reports about Rogers Place didn't exist — but Nickel easily accessed the documents shortly after.

The city also refused a Postmedia request for flood maps in April, according to the newspaper.

"It should not be able to stay in private for perpetuity. It's public funds, it's public resources, it's of public interest," Nickel said to CBC News.

"This is not Area 51."

Nickel said he hopes to enact sunset clauses, so matters that might be too sensitive to immediately release can eventually be made public — like in the case of Edmonton's LRT Metro line, which has seen serious cost overruns and safety issues.

“This is not Area 51,” Nickel told 630 CHED.

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