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News release

International privacy guardians urge legislators to reaffirm commitment to privacy as a right and value in itself

GATINEAU, QC, October 28, 2019 – The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has been joined by privacy commissioners from around the world urging for the recognition of privacy as a fundamental human right, vital to the protection of other democratic rights.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien and his international counterparts have adopted a resolution on privacy as a fundamental human right and precondition for exercising other fundamental rights in Tirana, Albania at the 41th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.

The United Nations declared privacy an inalienable and universal human right in 1948, and in 1966 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reaffirmed the central role that privacy plays in democracy. Since then, over 80 countries worldwide have enshrined privacy rights for individuals in their laws and regulations.

“This resolution plays an important next step in the commitment to privacy as a fundamental human right worldwide,” says Commissioner Therrien.

“Privacy plays a vital role in enabling other key rights, such as human dignity, freedom, equality and democracy. It also supports responsible innovation by promoting trust in both government and business.”

The resolution, an initiative of the OPC, notes growing support and increased calls from civil society, academia, media organizations, legal professionals and others to assert and protect privacy rights globally.

It calls on governments to reaffirm a strong commitment to privacy as a right and value in itself, and to ensure legal protections. It asks legislators to review and update privacy and data protection laws, and encourages regulators to apply relevant laws to activities in the political ecosystem.

Finally, it calls upon businesses to show demonstrable accountability across commercial activities; civil society organizations (including media and citizens) to exert their privacy rights; and for all organizations to assess risks to privacy, fairness, and freedom before using artificial intelligence in their activities.  

The OPC also co-authored a resolution on cooperation between data protection authorities and consumer protection and competition authorities. The office co-sponsored four other resolutions:

About the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as a 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, Canada’s federal private sector privacy law.

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For more information, please contact:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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