As we approach 2019, Dr. Ann Cavoukian reflected back on the passing year to discuss some of the biggest privacy stories and concerns.
When asked by Adrienne Batra, editor-in-chief of the Toronto Sun about the outlook of privacy for the New Year, Dr. Cavoukian mentioned that protection of privacy will get better. However, we should be cognizant of privacy concerns with respect to political parties, Statistics Canada’s acquisition for personal data, as well as the notion of Smart Cities.
With the New Year comes a federal election for which privacy remains a hot topic. “When the privacy commissioner requested that political parties should fall under the privacy legislation, and asked for them to be brought under the Privacy Act, our prime minister responded with a ‘no’. This is appalling and Canadians need to be mindful of this,” said Dr. Cavoukian. Similar to government institutions and private sectors, political parties should fall under the Privacy Act to ensure the protection of privacy of individuals and how personal data is utilized.
Privacy concerns were also echoed earlier this month for Statistics Canada’s proposal of acquiring personal data. Despite the verdict stating that the acquisition would be suspended, Statistics Canada stated that “this is only a pilot project and we will revisit again next year”. Though this provides a sigh of relief, it still suggests that Statistics Canada may re-attempt to acquire personal information. On a positive note, one of the leading banks in Canada is collaborating with Dr. Cavoukian to protect the privacy of its customers. More details to follow in the New Year on this partnership.
The notion of Smart Cities also raises major privacy concerns for its ability to capture information. With smart cities, all technologies are active 24 hours and 7 days a week basis. This takes away the selection of choice in what type and kind of data get collected of individuals living and entering Smart Cities. Prior to Dr. Cavoukian’s formal resignation with Sidewalk Labs, Dr. Cavoukian proposed all data collected at the source must be de-identified for that it can be appropriately used or analyzed at a later time.
In reflection to the stories and concerns raised above as well as the ongoing legal hearings of Google and Amazon, businesses will have to realize that significant changes will need to be made, especially in light of a new law that’s coming into effect. “In the European Union, there is a new law that has come into effect that’s called the General Data Protection Regulation, countries all around the world are raising their privacy laws to comply with the very strong privacy law now in the EU. Canada’s going to be doing it. Countries all around the world, Brazil, Japan, etc. So the good news is we’re going to have stronger privacy next year, Privacy By Design’s framework is included in this new law. That’s the highest level of privacy you can get.”
Click here to read the full article on the Toronto Sun.