Privacy Commissioner warns modernization of privacy laws is sorely needed

In an annual report released by the privacy commissioner, the personal information of Canadians needs to be protected.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada stated that new technologies are putting more and more pressure on privacy protection mechanisms in Canada.

“We’re trying to use 20th Century tools to deal with 21st Century privacy problems and it’s clear those tools are increasingly insufficient,” said commissioner Daniel Therrien.

The report goes on to reveal that approximately 90 percent of Canadians are concerned about being unable to protect their privacy. The Commissioner argues that the government should be pursuing a modernization of laws and policies regarding technology.

The annual report released by the privacy commissioner involves updating and refreshing the privacy act to ensure that it reflects the lives and concerns of Canadians.

“The government should give greater priority to the modernization of laws and policies and it should invest more resources in building robust privacy protection frameworks. This is essential to maintaining public confidence in government and the digital economy,” said Therrien.

These updates would include 16 recommendations responding to three broad themes; responding to technological change; legislative modernization; and the need for transparency.

In addition however, this report includes details of the implementation of the implementation of the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (SCISA) in the first six months after the passing of Bill C-51. The report finds that the impact of the new authorities conferred by SCISA were not properly evaluated, and recommends that assessments be conducted. 

“It was therefore quite surprising to learn that most departments did not conduct Privacy Impact Assessments related to implementation of SCISA’s new authorities, particularly given the government had said this legislation was crucial in addressing gaps in its ability to protect the public,” said Therrien.

This work will aim to provide a clear view of the use of SCISA to inform a government review of Bill C-51, the controversial anti-terrorism bill which was passed in June of 2015.

Image credit: Robosapiens Technologies

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[source]Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada[/source]