Thursday, October 18, 2007

Canadian Privacy Commissioner's Annual Report

Yesterday, the Canadian Privacy Commissioner released Canada's Annual Report on the Privacy Act.

I'm looking forward to reading this report. But from the press release, it seems Canadians are becoming more concerned about the amount of information being exchanged with other countries...
Increasingly, Canadians’ personal information is being exchanged with law enforcement and security agencies in other countries. The government has claimed that this transborder flow of information will improve transportation safety and enhance our national security.
“We are particularly concerned about the number of travel-related security programs that have been put in place,” says Commissioner Stoddart. [...]

The increased collection of personal information under these programs increases the risk that Canadians will be the victims of inappropriate data matching, intrusive data mining, or the unintended consequences of the disclosure of personal information. This increases the risk of surveillance, rendition and unwarranted attention from law and security enforcement both at home and abroad.
In addition to these important security demands, the release also goes on to point out that the privacy act was written in 1982, when the Commordore 64 was the latest computer.
The Privacy Act, unfortunately, is not equipped to deal with the pressures imposed by tremendous technological change. In fact, Canada’s private sector privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, provides more protection for Canadians.
Interesting stuff indeed. I would also observe that along with technological change, the public is becoming much more educated about identity and the Internet. It is not surprising that as the public has become more educated, their privacy expectations and concerns are also rising.

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