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Limiting Collection of Driver’s Licence Information

Is there anything more annoying that 100 people ahead of you in line when you are trying to purchase that perfect holiday gift? Well what about while you are in the midst of your harried purchase, being asked to pull out your driver’s licence so the retailer can record the number? Not only can this be annoying, but it might also be a violation of your personal privacy.

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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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Privacy in Facebook apps — the risk of the SuperPoke

The social networking site Facebook has been under scrutiny lately for lax security with its applications feature. Applications in Facebook are created by third-party software developers and are run on third-party servers. These applications can take many forms – a quiz, a game, or just another way to reach out to friends – but the common feature in all is that they allow software developers to access Facebook users’ personal data.

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Top Ten Lists

Day to day, our actions are being captured, and increasingly, it’s being done by surveillance cameras. This technology – like RFID tags – is being used by more organizations everyday to improve security and deter thieves. And while that’s a perfectly legitimate reason to employ cameras, organizations should also be ensuring their surveillance activities minimize the impact on people’s privacy.

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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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