The Privacy Commissioner of Canada recently announced an upcoming consultation with Canadians on privacy issues related to the online tracking, profiling and targeting of consumers by marketers and other businesses. This will be the first in a series of public consultations focused on emerging technological trends that are likely to have a significant impact on the privacy of Canadians. more
Airport security scanners must respect privacy, Privacy Commissioner insists
In early January, the federal government announced its plan to install 44 millimetre-wave imaging scanners in airports across Canada. The new security announcement triggered extensive media interest because it came just two weeks after a failed bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner, and because the devices generate images of the human body.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which had been studying the privacy impacts of these full-body scanners since 2008, was widely quoted in news reports and opinion pieces. In an op-ed which ran in a number of newspapers across the country, the Commissioner warned that, while many of the OPC’s concerns were addressed in the lead-up to the deployment, we would continue to follow up with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and Transport Canada, to ensure that privacy measures are in line with our expectations. more
Commissioner speaks out on federal surveillance plan
In late October, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart wrote to Parliamentarians to outline some “significant concerns” about proposed legislation that would broaden the powers of law enforcement authorities to collect personal information in the digital universe. more
Former Privacy Commissioner Bruce Phillips appointed to the Order of Canada
On December 30th, the Governor General of Canada announced the appointment of former Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Bruce Phillips, to the Order of Canada. Jennifer Stoddart issued the following statement regarding the appointment. more
Geospatial Information – How mapping data can reveal more than your location
The oldest surviving maps were painted on rocks by Neolithic tribesmen and scratched into clay tablet by Mesopotamian cartographers.
Today, the science of mapping has evolved to the point where you can download to your mobile handset an application that directs you to the nearest public washroom in many countries around the world.
Without a doubt, the modern-day capacity to layer a limitless range of digital data over basic maps can generate a wealth of convenient and highly desirable products for consumers. In the past few years alone, we’ve seen a proliferation of applications that go miles beyond the street maps of old. more
Commissioner appeared on CBC-TV’s The Hour
Recently, the Commissioner appeared on the popular CBC-TV program, The Hour, hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos. A variety of privacy issues were discussed, including airport scanners and social networking. You can watch the interview online at: http://www.priv.gc.ca/resource/videos/2010/
js_thehour_20100106.wmv (13:41 minutes - approx. 90 MB)
OPC Essay Contest Winner
Newly minted lawyer explores the police use of surveillance cameras in public places
Mathew Johnson, a recent law-school graduate of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., was the winner of our inaugural Think Privacy! essay-writing competition for undergraduate students studying civil or common law.
Mr. Johnson, who went on at the end of the summer to take a position at Justice Canada’s International Assistance Group, received a $2,500 award for his essay entitled “Protecting Privacy in Public: The Need for Public Surveillance Regulation in Canada.”
Mr. Johnson is also taking advantage of another $2,500 in research funds available through the OPC contest to develop the essay into a publishable article. more
Accusearch Inc. (Abika.com) Case
Cross-border effort shutters U.S. data broker violating Canadian law
In this era of global data flows, a recent investigation by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has underlined how crucial it is for countries to work together to protect the privacy of their citizens. more
The OPC goes to Washington
OPC lawyer gains valuable insights as guest of U.S. trade commission
Daniel Caron, legal counsel with the OPC, enjoyed a rare opportunity recently to see how the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) deals with consumer privacy issues. more
2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games
Don’t sacrifice privacy in Olympic Games security measures, privacy commissioners urge
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, in conjunction with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia, recently launched a special website that explores the preservation of privacy in the context of Olympic security. The site contains links to a range of fact sheets, research, speeches and other sources of information on this very important issue. more
The OPC is responsible for overseeing compliance with PIPEDA and the Privacy Act. These two laws protect our privacy rights and describe the obligations of organizations that seek to collect, use or disclose our personal information.
For real-life examples of how PIPEDA comes into play, visit our case summaries:
- PIPEDA Case summary #2009-014: Fraud detection not an acceptable reason to collect driver’s licence numbers for store memberships
- PIPEDA Case summary #2009-013: Publisher collected and used e-mail addresses for marketing without consent
- PIPEDA Case summary #2009-012: Bank not responsible after new account was opened using stolen identity
- PIPEDA Case summary #2009-011: Transit driver objects to use of technology (MDT and GPS) on company vehicle
- PIPEDA Case summary #2008-398: Telemarketer’s collection and disclosure of personal information deemed to be non-consensual
- Truncated Credit Card Numbers – Why stores should print only partial credit card information on customer receipts
- Annual Report to Parliament 2008-2009 — Report on the Privacy Act
- Privacy in the Time of a Pandemic: Guidance for Organizations
- Report: Privacy Protection: Beyond the Blueprint, Paul-André Comeau, École nationale d’administration publique, Québec
- Social Network Site Privacy – A Comparative Analysis of Six Sites, research by Jennifer Barrigar for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Data breaches, in which people’s personal information slips out of the hands of the organization that holds it, can be a serious problem for the individuals concerned. more
Senior Research Analyst
OPC employees specialize in a range of issues. For senior research analyst Melanie Millar-Chapman, health privacy tops the list of issues she focuses on every day on behalf of Canadians. more
Speaking of Privacy
The OPC actively promotes and discusses privacy issues in Canada and abroad by participating in a variety of events and conferences. Check out our Upcoming Events schedule to see what’s on the horizon.
Visit our Speeches page for a complete list of topics we have discussed.
See our previous issues