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Contributions Program 2008-2009

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Project Descriptions

The following is a brief description of funded projects:

Organization: Queen’s University —The Surveillance Project, Department of Sociology
Location: Ontario
Funding amount: $50,000
Project title: Camera Surveillance in Canada: Current Trends
Project description: There is a surprising lack of Canadian research to date on the development of camera surveillance, and the proliferation of surveillance cameras in Canada is occurring without enough oversight or public debate.  This project will outline Canadian trends in camera surveillance in public and private spaces by analyzing documentary sources and through interviews with key stakeholders.  As part of the project, a final research report will be presented at the International Conference of Data Protection Commissioners in Strasbourg, France (Sept. 2008).

Organization: British Columbia Institute of Technology, Centre for Forensic and Security Technology Studies
Location: British Columbia
Funding amount: $50,000
Project title: Privacy Protection Checkups: Promoting Compliance and Providing Education for Business and Nonprofit Organizations
Project description: Businesses collect and use information about their customers to improve service and gain a competitive advantage. However, mishandling this information can expose a company and its customers to serious risks. The Centre for Forensic and Security Technology Studies at British Columbia Institute of Technology will offer free “privacy protection checkups” to selected retail merchants, professional firms and non-profit organizations in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. These checkups will provide organizations with a report on their compliance with privacy legislation and guidelines, as well as with recommendations for improvement where appropriate. The checkups will also serve as an opportunity to educate managers on their obligations to protect personal information.

Organization: Association sur l’accès et la protection de l’information (AAPI)
Location: Quebec
Funding amount: $47,525
Project title: “Warning! Personal Information in Circulation”: An Interactive Website and Public Education Tour
Project description: The AAPI is a leader in privacy, confidentiality and information security. By raising awareness about the protection of personal information and privacy, it develops and integrates new concepts and practices in all its areas of expertise. For this project, the AAPI will develop an interactive website, as well as a mobile kiosk and lectures, which the organization will take to public events throughout Quebec.

Organization: Queen’s University, School of Computing
Location: Ontario
Funding amount: $20,000
Project title: Personas: Beyond Identity Protection by Information Control
Project description: Most existing approaches to identity management focus on controlling the flow of personal information, either from an individual to an organization, or from one organization to others.  When a person deals with another individual, a business, or a government, they share certain pieces of personal information, providing a partial identity. The weakness of this approach is that newly-developed techniques for data fusion and knowledge discovery make it possible to build a complete identity from these partial identities.  This research project will examine this weakness by reviewing how individuals may interact with other individuals, business, and governments using artificial identities or personas.

Organization: University of Alberta, Department of Sociology
Location: Alberta
Funding Amount: $49,565
Project title: Privacy Games: The Vancouver Olympics, Privacy and Surveillance
Project description: This project will scrutinize privacy dynamics pertaining to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics by exploring a number of key questions: How, or to what extent, are officials addressing the privacy concerns raised by efforts to secure Vancouver’s Games? Will technologies or practices pose particular threats to privacy? How, and to what extent, is private information about citizens being shared among security agencies? Have Olympic security concerns culminated in legal reforms that have a bearing on privacy? What type of privacy legacies can we anticipate from the games? A combination of research methods will be used, including documentary analysis and interviews with key stakeholders, and a final report will be produced.

Organization: Media Awareness Network (MNet)
Location: Ontario
Funding amount: $40,833
Project title: Kids for Sale: Online Privacy and Marketing
Project description: In 2000, MNet partnered with schools and libraries to create an extensive professional development Internet literacy program for teachers and librarians, called “Web Awareness Canada/La Toile et les jeunes”. The reach of the Web Awareness program is substantial, and one of its key components has been the development of a workshop and facilitator’s guide called “Kids for Sale: Online Privacy and Marketing.”  The project for which MNet is obtaining funding will update both the workshop and the facilitator’s guide in light of the rapidly changing electronic landscape kids inhabit.  The primary audiences for this project are elementary and secondary school teachers, as well as curriculum consultants and faculties of education.

Organization: Memorial University Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Location: Newfoundland
Funding amount: $49,000
Project title: Threats to Mobile Phone Users’ Privacy: Who, How and How to Face?
Project description: While mobile phones afford users great freedom and convenience, by nature of how they work, they can also be used to monitor users’ locations and movements. This project will investigate the threats to mobile phone users’ privacy in Canada and propose a set of measures and recommendations to address these threats in order to improve users’ privacy. The anticipated results of this project include a detailed description of the technical feasibility of mobile phone users’ privacy threats, and a comparative analysis of mobile phone systems available in Canada in terms of their ability to withstand privacy threats.

Organization: University of Toronto, Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, Faculty of Law
Location: Ontario
Funding amount: $50,000
Project title: Privacy and Access to Genetic Research Data
Project description: Renewed attention to the privacy implications of the spread of genetic information is needed in light of new approaches to genetic research and applications of genetics in the health care context.  This research project will engage in an analysis of the ways in which public interests in medical research are evaluated and measured against the individual interest in protecting privacy.  In particular, the researchers will review and analyze decisions that have been made in the context of access to information law, to determine whether access to information law can provide a useful approach to balancing public and private interests in the context of genetic research.

Organization: Crime Prevention Society of Nova Scotia (CPSNS)
Location: Nova Scotia
Funding amount: $50,000
Project title: Trying to Get the Message Out: Identity Theft Awareness
Project description: CPSNS is a province-wide association of community groups, government, police agencies and individuals working together to promote safer communities across Nova Scotia. This project will develop informational tools and train-the-trainer workshops for use in public presentations to rural Nova Scotians on identity theft prevention. Train-the-trainer workshops will target audiences with established networks in local communities, such as community policing officers, school resource officers, youth groups.

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Heather Ormerod

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