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Something new between us and our Calvins

In a move to monitor inventory in its stores, Wal-Mart will launch an item-level Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) inventory tracking program starting August 1st, 2010.  In its first phase, the system will track individual pairs of jeans, socks and underwear.  The items will be tagged with removable RFID tags that can be read from a distance using hand-held scanners so employees will know what sizes are missing from shelves and what is in the stock room, all in a matter of seconds.  If the program is successful, it will be rolled out at Wal-Mart’s more than 3750 U.S. stores with more products.

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Twittering in Calgary

On June 21, 2010, The Office of the Privacy Commissioner hosted its third Consumer Privacy Consultation event of the year. Located in Calgary, this consultation event focused primarily on the privacy implications of cloud computing.  Featuring a wide variety of industry experts and engaging panelists, the event was highly successful.

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Location, location, location

Do you know how your location information is used?  A recent survey commissioned by security company, Webroot, asked 1,645 social network users in the U.S. and UK who own location-enabled mobile devices about their use of location-based tools and services.  The survey found that 39 percent of respondents reported using geo-location on their mobile devices and more than half (55 percent) of those users are worried about their loss of privacy. 

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Rethinking youthprivacy.ca Meeting

In case you missed it, we are embarking on a collaborative redesign of youthprivacy.ca. We are inviting input from people both within government and external to government, and the first meeting is fast approaching. Our first meeting will focus on the content of the website, discussing what should appear on youthprivacy.ca, asking questions about how the website can best serve the public through tailoring its content, and doing some preliminary brainstorming regarding how this content should be presented.

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2010 Consumer Privacy Consultations – Montreal is all a-twitter!

Over the course of the year, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is hosting consultations with Canadians on issues that pose a serious challenge to privacy. In an attempt to learn more about the privacy implications of new industries, the focus of the consultations has been on online tracking, profiling and targeting of consumers, and the increasing prevalence of cloud computing.

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Online privacy may not be an outdated idea after all

A few dedicated OPC staffers spend much of their time visiting schools and talking to young people about why privacy is important.  If you believe a popular line of thinking, privacy may seem to be a lost cause in the age of online social networking and “anything goes” disclosure. We who talk to youth on a regular basis, however, are always pleasantly surprised that a generation that is growing up online shows such interest and enthusiasm about protecting their information.  It’s nice when research findings reflect our day-to-day observations that many young people are in fact proactive about protecting their online privacy.

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Transparency, search engines and government appetite for data

There has been a long-standing debate between privacy advocates and government officials about the extent of government interest in the information transmitted across domestic and international networks. The passage of USA PATRIOT Act intensified this debate and prompted concern from a more general audience as well. Ever since, the digerati and online crowd have been whispering and wondering about the interface between search engines, particularly Google, and law enforcement and national security bodies.

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