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Contributions Program 2013-2014

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Project Descriptions

Organization: MediaSmarts
Location: Ontario
Funding Amount: $50,000
Project Title: Young Canadians in a Wired World – Phase III Quantitative Research Project (Year Two)
Project Leader: Jane Tallim
Project Description: Initiated in 2000 by MediaSmarts (formerly Media Awareness Network), Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW)is the most comprehensive and wide‐ranging study of children’s and teens’ Internet use in Canada. In the upcoming iteration of the project, the researchers aim to conduct post‐survey implementation activities, such as coding and analysis of data from paper questionnaires and creating a key findings report. Additionally, the researchers will be conducting a secondary analysis of findings from the 2011 YCWW qualitative research to produce a trends and recommendationsreport. The project will lead to the production of three articles for educational publications and a wide range of knowledge translation activities in both online and offline environments.

Organization: Queen's University, Faculty of Law
Location: Ontario
Funding Amount: $10,000
Project Title: The Privacy Implications of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
Project Leader: Arthur Cockfield
Project Description: The project will review the privacy implications of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in light of Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.  Specifically, the project will review implications on Canadian privacy rights and interests of any new agreement negotiated between Canada and the United States to implement FATCA.  The project will also examine the interplay of FATCA with other Canadian laws that protect taxpayer privacy such as the Income Tax Act, the Canada-United States Tax Convention Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Finally, the project will review how Canadian banks are trying to comply with all relevant laws, and whether these banks are adopting new information technology systems to help them identify, sort, and transfer financial information to U.S. tax authorities.

Organization: Queen's University, Surveillance Studies Centre
Location: Ontario
Funding Amount: $50,000
Project Title: Privacy Implications of the Spread of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Canada
Project Leader: David Lyon and David Murakami Wood
Project Description: The Surveillance Studies Centre (SSC) at Queen’s University proposes to research the development and privacy implications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, also known as “drones”). The study comprises four parts: a brief historical study of UAV development and its rapidly expanding use in military and civilian contexts; an inventory of the privacy-sensitive aspects of UAV development in the private sector compared with the public sector; an analysis of the marketing materials of Canadian companies involved in the manufacture and sale of UAVs; and an investigation of knowledge and public opinion on UAVs in Canada and elsewhere. The final report will include a forward-looking list of specific recommendations on related privacy requirements, appropriate use and governance of the development of UAVs in Canada.

Organization: Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Location: Ontario
Funding Amount: $50,000
Project Title: Police Background Checks and the Private Sector
Project Leader: Abby Deshman
Project Description: Canadian police services retain and share a wide range of personal information about the individuals that they come into contact with through the course of conducting background checks. The goal of this project is to research, analyze and disseminate information regarding the role of the private sector in police background checks. The project aims to generate a better understanding of the background check process and privacy considerations that should be taken into account by those who request, mediate and disclose this information. This project will represent a first step towards identifying best practices within the industry and will highlight gaps in the current legislative framework governing record retention and disclosure.

Organization: Carleton University, School of Computer Science
Location: Ontario
Funding Amount: $ 50,000
Project Title: Improving Mental Models of Security and Privacy Through Visualizations
Project Leader: Sonia Chiasson
Project Description: The primary objective of this research is improving users’ mental models of online security and privacy to enable them to better protect themselves online. The researcher will explore the topics of malware and anti-malware protection, as well as managing personal information online. The intention is to create visualizations that explain the threats and provide actionable advice to users with the goal of improving their mental models and enabling safer behaviour. The researchers will design several infographics to explore how to best explain the threats and advice. Additionally, they will create in-depth comics providing further explanation. The researchers will conduct several user studies to test each of these designs to assess their effectiveness at improving mental models and their effectiveness at influencing users to modify their behaviour.

Organization: Association sur l’accès et la protection de l’information (AAPI)
Location: Quebec
Funding Amount: $50,000
Project Title: Adaptation and release, in French and English, of an educational kit: “Développement de saines pratiques dans la diffusion de son image et de ses renseignements dans le Net”
Project Leader: Linda Girard
Project Description: With funding from the 2011-2012 Contributions Program, the AAPI developed an educational kit for junior high school teachers in Quebec to make young people aware of privacy protection and healthy practices regarding the publication of their image and personal information on the Internet. Following the successful release of the educational kit in Quebec, it will now be adapted for young Francophone and Anglophone Canadians to help them adopt prudent and responsible Web surfing habits. The AAPI will work with the Canadian Association of Professional Access and Privacy Administrators (CAPAPA) in implementing this project.

Organization: Université de Sherbrooke and Ryerson University
Location: Quebec and Ontario
Funding Amount: $41,515
Project Title: Fraud and Privacy Violation Risks in the Financial Aggregation Industry
Project Leader: Anastassios Gentzoglanis
Project Description: This research project will explore the fraud and privacy violation risks created by the emerging financial aggregation industry. Financial aggregators use web applications and platforms to collect data online, group them together and present them to customers within a single interface. The project will examine the development of this industry and its technological, legal and regulatory context in three different jurisdictions, the USA, Europe (chiefly the UK), and Asia (principally Japan and South Korea) and compare it to Canada, providing the necessary background and a thorough understanding of the functioning of the industry in various geographical and institutional settings. The project will also investigate the technology used by major aggregation service providers. Lastly, the research will be completed by developing tools and recommendations for the protection of privacy and the prevention of fraud.

Organization: Option Consommateurs
Location: Quebec
Funding Amount: $45,569.80
Project Title: New services provided by credit agencies
Project Leader: Dominique Gervais and Maryse Guénette
Project Description: Credit agencies such as Equifax and TransUnion gather a great deal of private information about Canadians. This project will examine the various services offered to businesses by credit agencies, describe the legal provisions in Canadian legislation, analyze provisions related to the confidentiality clauses of credit agencies, analyze consent clauses of the main Canadian credit providers regarding the consultation and disclosure of information in credit files, and determine what consumers know about all these issues. The project will also formulate recommendations to better protect Canadian consumers.

Organization: University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Location: Ontario
Funding Amount: $49,910.00
Project Title: Hidden Surveillance by Consumer Health Websites
Project Leader: Jacquelyn Burkell
Project Description: This project aims to document the privacy risks associated with online health information, to alert consumers to the nature of the risks, and to assist them with minimizing their vulnerability to privacy risks associated with online behavioural tracking. The project will examine the tracking mechanisms used by consumer health resources online and determine whether these activities are reflected in privacy policies. The researcher will also develop educational modules regarding behavioural tracking and associated privacy risks, which will be made available on the public library websites and will be offered online to interested institutions. Lastly, this project seeks to train information professionals, a group already active in promoting information literacy, to understand and communicate both the privacy risks associated with seeking health information online and the measures that can be taken to minimize those risks.

Organization: University of Guelph, Department of Psychology
Location: Ontario
Funding Amount: $49,680
Project Title: Privacy risks of direct to consumer genetic testing: How do consumers interpret the privacy risks associated with sharing their genetic material with private companies?
Project Leader: Kieran O’Doherty & Emily Christofides
Project Description: There has been considerable focus on the issue of private data online and recent advances to genetic testing means that genetic-based ancestry and health risks can now be added to the wealth of online data that needs safeguarding. The project seeks to explore the way in which direct to consumer genetic testing (DTCGT) companies communicate privacy risk information and what customers understand of their risks. The researchers will then prepare recommendations on the appropriate presentation of real and potential risks, as well as a guide to help customers interpret the privacy risks of DTCGT.
Note: This project is funded over two years.

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