Annual Report to Parliament 2014 – Report on the
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
issues. For example, we continue to seek
opportunities to apply our successful early
resolution approach to complaints, enabling
us to address concerns without having to
undertake a formal investigation. We have
also been exercising our powers to decline
to investigate a complaint or discontinue
where appropriate in order to
concentrate resources on matters of greatest
privacy impact and concern.
KEEPING PACE WITH TECHNOLOGICAL
Our growing level of activity—and our mission
to protect and promote the privacy rights
of individuals—compels us to identify and
seek to stay ahead of emerging privacy issues.
At the centre of many of these issues lies the
unrelenting pace and ever-expanding breadth
of technological development.
As network connectivity spreads from
computers and mobile devices to everyday
objects such as cars, appliances, clothing
and accessories, the amount of personal
information being collected and distributed
is increasing dramatically. When harnessed
2 Under section 12.2 (1) of PIPEDA, the Commissioner
may discontinue the investigation of a complaint if the
Commissioner is of the opinion that (a) there is insufficient
evidence to pursue the investigation; (b) the complaint is
trivial, frivolous or vexatious or is made in bad faith; (c) the
organization has provided a fair and reasonable response
to the complaint; (d) the matter is already the object of an
ongoing investigation under this Part; (e) the matter has
already been the subject of a report by the Commissioner.”
and analysed, the data these connected devices
gather can reveal a great deal about our private
lives, including our location, consumption and
travel patterns, health status and even moods.
The age of the Internet of Things and wearable
computing is only just beginning, but our
Office is already working to ensure we can
respond effectively to this emerging reality.
This includes a research agenda to examine
commercial data practices as they relate to
these new technologies and other advances.
Simply put, we need to continually enhance
our understanding of the privacy implications;
determine how best to ensure and encourage
greater respect for privacy by private sector
organizations; and promote the competitive
advantage that building citizen and consumer
trust can offer. We look forward to sharing
additional insights on this topic later in 2015.
While privacy is often synonymous with new
and emerging trends, the issue of government
access to private sector information, including
telecommunications data, remains the subject
of an important and ongoing debate. While
understanding the need for adequate security
and intelligence measures, our Office continues
to encourage parties on both sides of such
sharing of personal information to provide
greater transparency for Canadians.