Canada's Privacy Commissioner Sets Priorities for Next Five Years

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Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien, speaking to the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Canada Privacy Symposium, held May 28, 2015 in Toronto, previewed the four priorities that his office expects to pursue over the next five years.  They are:

  • The economics of personal information;
  • Government surveillance;
  • Reputation and privacy; and
  • The body as personal information.

His report highlighted he types of activity Canadians can expect to see from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ("OPC"). Businesses will want to pay close attention as these priorities are likely to include not only education and awareness initiatives, but enforcement actions as well. The types of activity include:

  • Seeking a better balance between the needs of business or government to have access to personal information for purposes beneficial to economic growth and innovation or national security as against the rights of the individual to privacy
  • Further consultation with stakeholder groups to seek their views to enhance existing privacy models, and develop legislative changes as required
  • Enhancing accountability and transparency of both business and government in their use of personal information, including through ongoing activities designed to ensure government compliance with the Privacy Act in its application of the Anti-Terrorism Act amendments made via Bill C-51
  • Ongoing awareness that privacy knows no borders
  • Enhancing the public education role, to preserve and enhance the meaningfulness of consent to the use of personal information, awareness of government surveillance activities, the potential harm of sharing information online and the development of the right to be forgotten, and the risks associated with the recording and sharing of biometric data
  • Protection of vulnerable groups, including youth and seniors, and those disproportionately affected by government surveillance activities

His remarks can be read in full here, and the more detailed report is expected later in June.

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