Ninety per cent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years. It has been remarked, for example, that “[t]here was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every two days, and the pace is increasing.”
Privacy by Design (PbD) is an approach to protecting privacy by embedding it into the design specifications of information technologies, accountable business practices, and networked infrastructures, right from the outset. It was developed by Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, in the 1990s, as a response to the growing threats to online privacy that were beginning to emerge at that time.
The revelations of Edward Snowden regarding the NSA have created a firestorm of controversy, bringing into question our very right to privacy. The absence of transparency and accountability by government intelligence agencies makes these revelations all the more troubling. This has prompted companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, AOL, LinkedIn and Yahoo to form a coalition called, Reform Government Surveillance, to demand that governments address the practices and laws regulating the government surveillance of law-abiding citizens. What is Canada doing?
The notion of informational self-determination seems to be collapsing under the weight, diversity and volume of “Big Data” processing in the modern Information Era. Understood as an individual’s ability to exercise a measure of control over the use of his or her personal information by others, it is the basis for many privacy laws, codes of practice, and articulations of Fair Information Practice principles – especially the individual participation principles of informed consent, access, and redress.