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Privacy Commissioner awards $48,300 to the University of Toronto for research into the effectiveness of web-based privacy notices

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 $48,300, under its Contributions Program, to the University of Toronto's Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, Faculty of Law for a review of the effectiveness of Internet privacy statements.

"The Centre for Innovation Law and Policy has been instrumental in examining some of the deeper issues raised by technological change, including issues related to information security and privacy. This project will help identify the effectiveness of web-based privacy statements in a consumer and regulatory context," said Ms. Stoddart.

The project, undertaken in collaboration with the University's Faculty of Information Studies, will support a survey and review of Internet privacy notices by companies in the telecommunications, airline, banking and retail sectors and field test a framework for assessing web-based privacy statements for compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The project will also help clarify whether privacy notices are a genuine reflection of a company's desire to protect privacy. Researchers will assess notices for positioning on the site, clarity of language, detail and compliance with PIPEDA.

"We are delighted to have received this funding from the Office of the Privacy Commission, which will allow us to research the effectiveness of PIPEDA from both a legal and information studies perspective," says Rajen Akalu of the University of Toronto's Centre for Innovation Law and Policy.

The privacy notices 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 by 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

Rajen Akalu
Centre for Innovation Law and Policy
University of Toronto
Tel: (416) 946-4002

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