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News Release

Privacy Commissioner announces Contributions Program funding for independent projects that advance key privacy issues

GATINEAU, QC, April 21, 2016 – A new round of independent research and knowledge translation projects supported through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s 2016-2017 Contributions Program will address diverse privacy issues, such as online decision-making by teens, data anonymization and wearable technologies.

“The projects receiving support under this year’s Contributions Program will help advance our four privacy priorities—the defining privacy issues of greatest strategic importance and relevance to Canadians over the next few years,” says Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien.

The priorities, which help to guide the Office’s work, are: The economics of personal information; government surveillance; reputation and privacy; and the body as information.

The Contributions Program funds independent privacy research and related knowledge translation initiatives. Researchers are encouraged to propose innovative projects that generate new ideas, approaches, and knowledge about privacy that organizations can apply to better protect personal information and individual Canadians can use to make more informed decisions about protecting their privacy.

Some examples of this year’s projects include:

How youth make choices about reputational and data privacy online – This project will examine the reasoning that youth apply to decisions about what they disclose online. While it’s clear that teens are making decisions based on privacy concerns, we know less about how they make those decisions, and how we might encourage them to consider data privacy, as well as reputational privacy.

Digital privacy after death – Many Canadians create significant digital trails over their lifetimes, that can persist indefinitely online even after their deaths. This project will examine related questions such as: How can individuals plan to control their digital identities after death? And how can family members or friends act on the wishes of a deceased loved one?

Anonymization of data – This project will involve the creation of a one-day, e-learning course on anonymizing data for the private sector. This will positively impact the protection of privacy rights of Canadians by educating the private sector on how they can more effectively minimize privacy risks through data anonymization techniques.

Wearable technologies – This initiative will gather more information about what can be obtained from wearable devices and the practices associated with their use and analysis in Canadian workplaces. The resulting report will include an inventory and assessment of wearable technologies in Canada and their impact on privacy.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) received 45 proposals for the 2016-17 funding cycle of the Contributions Program. Those proposals were evaluated by the OPC, as well as an external peer review panel. This evaluation process ultimately resulted in 10 successful projects which will receive support in the coming year.

For a full list of funded projects, see: 2016-17 Contributions Program recipients and their proposed projects.

The Contributions Program was created in 2004 to support arm’s length, non-profit research on privacy, further privacy policy development, and promote the protection of personal information in Canada. Since then, the Program has allocated approximately $5 million to more than 110 initiatives.

About the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner enforces two laws for the protection of personal information: the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s federal private sector privacy law.

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For more information, please contact:

Valerie Lawton, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

NOTE: To help us to respond more quickly, journalists are asked to please send requests for interviews or further information via e-mail.

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