Privacy Priorities - page 21

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We created a specialized technology lab, held
public consultations on specific emerging
trends, and conducted international research
on new information technologies.
The knowledge we have built has been critical
to allowing us to engage with organizations
on an equal footing with respect to highly
technical issues and put forward credible,
well-balanced positions on issues.
Over the years, we have been able to translate
our knowledge of technology issues into
targeted guidance and public awareness
products, and have drawn from that
knowledge to inform our investigations and
audits, as well as our new responsibilities
under Canada’s new anti-spam legislation.
Here are some examples of our work:
Technology Analysis Branch
We created a Technology Analysis Branch
with specialized staff and a laboratory to carry
out the technical analyses needed to support
the Office’s work.
Thus, for instance, our technologists can
assist our investigators in assessing technical
elements of a complaint such as privacy
options or default settings, certain features of
online services, the effectiveness of security
safeguards, or claimed data deletion practices.
The Technology Analysis Lab is also an early
testing ground for researching new apps and
other emerging technologies with potential
implications for privacy, even before they
become the object of a privacy complaint.
Our technologists have also provided
technical assistance to help our Office prepare
for new enforcement responsibilities flowing
from
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation
(CASL).
The enforcement of CASL will be shared with
the Competition Bureau and the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission; our specific role will be to
oversee the unauthorized collection of
personal information, either through the
harvesting of e-mail addresses or the planting
of spyware on people’s computers.
Social Networking
The exploding popularity of social
networking spurred an investigation into
the privacy practices of social networking
giant Facebook.
As a result of our investigation, Facebook
retrofitted its application platform to prevent
any app from accessing information without
first obtaining express consent from users.
In response to another concern about
transparency, Facebook agreed to give users
more privacy information and improved
privacy tools.
That investigation was important for many
reasons. We were the first data protection
authority in the world to conduct a
comprehensive investigation of the privacy
policies and practices of Facebook. We
established that social networking sites raised
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