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Canada Dashboard Digest | Notes from the IAPP Canada Managing Director, August 10, 2018 Related reading: What does it mean to be a chief data ethics officer?

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There’s a story this week about a man in Nova Scotia who was asked to give up more personal information than was necessary when he was trying to hire a mechanic to change his car tires. If you read the whole story, you know that this particular individual felt so strongly about the overreach that he took his business elsewhere.

I suppose that’s one way of trying to punish those that do privacy badly. Just don’t do business with them!

But, all too often, that’s not really an option.

While Cadillac Fairview has suspended its facial recognition program this week after outcries about how it was tracking and profiling mall customers, I really doubt that people stopped going to the malls altogether. It’s just too impractical, especially when you consider that CF owns major malls in our cities.

So, while the privacy commissioners investigate CF, consumers are left with little to do but hope that they have really turned off the technology until such time as it is determined that its use is reasonable in the circumstances. And, at the end of the day, CF is going to receive two reports from privacy experts telling them if (and how) they can implement the technology.  They will have received all the help they need and the only ramification will be some short-lived news stories about how people were caught off guard by the company’s  surreptitious use of biometric technology. 

Sometimes, though, I wish it was more straightforward and immediate, and that we could vote with our feet and our chequebooks. The good news is that in both cases — and so many more — people are calling out what they feel is bad privacy protection and insisting companies step up their game. Luckily, as privacy pros, we are well placed to help. 

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