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Privacy Commissioner awards $17,100 to Option Consommateurs to study the effectiveness of consumer identification with new methods of electronic payment

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 $17,100, under its Contributions Program, to Option Consommateurs to study the effectiveness of consumer identification with new methods of electronic payment.

"The link between technology and the protection of personal information has become increasingly important in this digital age," said Ms. Stoddart. "Incidents related to identity theft and fraud have become a source of growing concern for citizens. I am delighted to be involved in this important partnership as this is an emerging research area and there is little published research on this issue accessible to Canadians," said the Ms. Stoddart.

The purpose of the Option Consommateurs project is to verify the following two hypotheses:

  1. the methods of identification currently being used in Canada, when it comes to electronic payment, are not very secure and are not well adapted to the needs of consumers;
  2. several methods of identification planned for this field (such as the use of biometric identifiers) contain security loopholes and are not well adapted to the needs of consumers.

The observations and conclusions that will result from this research will allow for greater understanding of the social value attached to the protection of personal information and how improved protection of citizens' privacy rights can be reinforced.

"We look forward to the results of this research which may help us to address the particular challenges related to the identification of consumers through the use of electronic payments," said Ms. Jennifer Stoddart."

"The funding from the OPC will allow Option Consommateurs to conduct an analysis into the mechanisms of identifying consumers through the use of electronic payments, the security of the payment and the technology's compliance with legislative frameworks governing the protection of privacy rights," said Geneviève Reed, head of research and representation with Option Consommateurs.

The Option Consommateurs research 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
E-mail: rcouturier@priv.gc.ca

Jacques St Amant
Analyst / Advisor
Option Consommateurs
Tel: (514) 598-7288
E-mail: st-amant@option-consommateurs.org

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