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Back on the Data Trail: The Evolution of Canada’s Data Broker Industry


Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC)



Project Leader(s)

David Fewer, Director


This project follows up on CIPPIC’s 2006 study of the Canadian data brokerage industry. The original study pulled back the curtain of this poorly understood industry. Data brokers are intimately familiar with consumers yet practically unknown to the average Canadian. The past decade has seen radical changes to the industry, its technology, and society itself. Simply, the world has changed. The emergence of big data analytics, behavioral advertising and social networking has transformed the shape of this industry. In this research project, CIPPIC takes a look back at these changes and the impact they have had on the shape, practices, and products of the data broker industry in Canada. In particular, CIPPIC finds that the practices identified in this research raise significant compliance issues under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Project deliverables are available in the following language(s):


OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

Contact Information

Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
57, Louis-Pasteur, Room 506
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6N5
Phone Number: 613-562-5800 ext. 2553
Fax: (613) 562-5417

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