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Public health and Google Trends

Huddled under a blanket in the quiet of your computer room, aching from head to toe, you decide do a quick Google search for flu remedies or maybe read more on the where the next flu clinic will be held. Congratulations – with Google’s help, you’ve just volunteered for the public health early warning system.

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That data miner’s watching you

You know, you’re not really worrying quite enough about the information being collected about you, your preferences, your obsessions and your movements. Not by the government, not by security agencies or law enforcement officials, but by the companies that serve you everyday.

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What’s in store for a new session of Parliament, Part 2

With another federal election underway, a number of policy issues with privacy implications have been put on hold until after October 14. The debate over copyright was one of the most contentious issues before the House and certainly one that captured the interest of Canadians throughout the country. Before the election call, we received a letter from James Pew, a music studio owner in Toronto. He voices his concerns as a small business owner over the proposed copyright legislation, pointing out that it “does not take into account the needs of consumers and Canada’s creative community who are exploiting the potential of digital technology”. (You can view his full letter on his blog.)

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What’s in store for a new session of Parliament

On July 3, 2008 the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced the results of a public opinion study we commissioned on the personal information customers hand over (or refuse to) to retailers. According to the results, more than half of Canadians said that they were apprehensive about giving their personal information to retailers, citing concerns over security issues, identity theft and fraud.

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