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OPC Hosts International Group - Monitoring Risks and Highlighting Opportunities

Our Office is pleased to be hosting the 49th meeting of the “Berlin Group”, more formally known as the International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications, which takes place today and tomorrow, in Montreal. This is the first time that this Group has met in Canada. Participants in the meeting, representing more than 20 international data protection and privacy authorities, will be focusing on privacy-related topics such as electronic payments, vehicle event data recorders and locational privacy.

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To err is human: some thoughts about online privacy

Last month, we held our second Insights on Privacy armchair event, with Alessandro Acquisti and Christena Nippert-Eng as our guests. Much of the discussion revolved around the challenges of negotiating privacy in an online environment, and we heard many interesting observations about how human nature gets in the way of good online privacy decisions. Dr. Acquisti’s research shows that the more in control people feel over their personal information, the more sensitive information they tend to disclose. Granular controls in privacy settings give people a sense of power over their information that may be more illusion than reality. When deciding how much information to reveal, people also become confused in online environments because they cannot rely on the physical cues that guide them in their off-line interactions. Without physically seeing our audience, it’s easy to misjudge or disregard those who can see us.

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Connecting Your New Gadget to the Wireless Internet

Many people will be getting shiny, new wireless gadgets this holiday season. This might be a new smart phone, a laptop or netbook computer, or a tablet such as the iPad. One of the most attractive features of these devices is that they can connect to the Internet wirelessly, using Wi-Fi networks found in homes, offices, and many public locations (hotspots). This is a great feature, but it does come with risks.

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New Deadline for Feedback on our Consultations

As you may know, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada held public consultations in the spring of 2010 on online tracking, profiling and targeting; and cloud computing. Alongside the consultations we held in Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary, we received many written submissions as well. The consultations were aimed at learning more about certain industry practices, exploring their privacy implications, and finding out what privacy protections Canadians expect in terms of these practices.

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