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June 12, 2018

Privacy Commissioner announces funding for independent research projects on privacy issues

New independent research and knowledge translation projects being supported through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s 2018-19 Contributions Program will examine a variety of topics, such as children’s personal information on social networking sites and public Wi-fi networks.

“This year’s projects touch on a wide range of issues, many of them exploring the intersection of privacy and technology,” says Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien. “In this increasingly complex digital environment, it is essential that we develop the knowledge and tools needed to ensure that privacy is protected.”

The projects receiving support as part of this year’s Contributions Program will also continue to advance the Office’s privacy priorities, which emphasize responding to Canadians’ concerns about privacy. 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.

Examples of this year’s projects include:

Parenting in the digital age. This project will examine the potential privacy impact for children when parents share their children’s personal information on social networks. It will explore knowledge, perceptions and attitudes of parents, children and young adults with respect to this issue, and assess the extent to which children’s right are protected.

Privacy leakage in Canadian public Wi-Fi networks. This project will examine security and privacy risks related to public Wi-Fi hotspots. The technical analysis will assess privacy policies; measure personal information leakage to hotspot operators; and identify issues such as vulnerabilities in infrastructures, potential attack opportunities for malicious users, and possible abuses of personal information provided for hotspot authentication. This project will produce a public hotspot privacy report card and present recommendations.

The Contributions Program funds independent privacy research and initiatives that generate new ideas, approaches, and knowledge about privacy to help organizations better safeguard personal information and Canadians make more informed decisions about protecting their privacy.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada received 29 proposals for the 2018-19 funding cycle of the Contributions Program. Those proposals were evaluated by the Office, as well as an external peer review panel. Following the evaluation process, nine successful projects were selected to receive funding support.

For a full list of successful projects, see: 2018-19 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 $6 million to 137 initiatives.

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