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Privacy Commissioner of Canada awards $49,775 to the B.C Freedom of Information and Privacy Association for a study on identity theft

Ottawa, January 27, 2005 – The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, is pleased to announce that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is awarding $49,775, under its Contributions Program, to the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) for a special study on identity theft.

"The theft of personal information facilitates a wide range of other criminal activity, from financial fraud to organized crime and terrorism. It is a privacy issue of major concern to our Office, and I am delighted to be able to work in partnership with the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association on addressing this issue," said Ms. Stoddart.

The project will analyze the relationship between identity theft, technology and current private sector information management practices. The project will also include a review of private sector information handling practices for gaps in privacy and security that might be exploited by identity thieves. A gap analysis and a risk matrix will be developed, in conjunction with a review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). This research will form the basis for comprehensive policy recommendations on how the Act might be used in the fight against identity theft and personal information fraud.

"Under this program, we hope to make a significant contribution to the drafting of effective legislation in this area, to promote understanding and safe information practices for organizations, to develop corrective tools that can aid the public in preventing ID theft, and to provide the public with remedies when they do occur," said Darrell Evans, Executive Director of FIPA.

Identity theft — the fraudulent use of others' personal information — is the fastest growing non-violent crime in North America. An Ipsos Reid survey done in June 2004, indicated concern about identity theft in 75 per cent of Canadians asked.

The FIPA identity theft project is funded from the OPC's Contributions Program, launched in June 2004, to foster and develop Canada's national capacity for research into privacy issues and emerging technologies. The project is one of 10 research initiatives funded br the OPC.

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For more information, please contact:

Renée Couturier
Director, Public Education and Communications
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 995-0103

Darrell Evans
Executive Director
B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
Tel: (604) 739-9788

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