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A correction – but still a concern

Today, we issued a news release celebrating Data Privacy Day, an initiative of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. In that release we made the assertion that “We have seen a proliferation of identity theft and spam as well as a tripling of reported data breaches around the world last year” – based on an analysis of data breaches first reported in USA Today, and similar reporting by the Associated Press.

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Hands across the ocean

An article out of the UK this morning reports that the U.S. FBI is considering the development of an international database in collaboration with the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada which could potentially make personal information – biometric data like iris, palm and finger prints – of its citizens instantly available to police forces in other partner countries. The U.S.-led program, called “Server in the Sky”, would aid forces in tracking down major criminals and suspected terrorists.

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Your information. Your choice.

Increasingly, we are putting our personal information online in order to gain access to the benefits of Web 2.0: We list and rank our favourite books on vendor sites, and in return we get recommendations for books we might never have heard of otherwise. We indicate which high school we attended on our Facebook profiles, and in return we reconnect with long-lost friends.

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A new year’s errand list

As we close out 2007, we’d like to sound a note of caution for privacy rights in Canada. We are lucky to have a variety of protections for personal information and data at the territorial, provincial and federal levels. Nevertheless, the Commissioner took a moment last week to highlight some of the steps that need to be taken by individuals, corporations and the government in the face of continuing challenges:

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