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Canada Dashboard Digest | Notes from the IAPP Canada Managing Director, February 12, 2016 Related reading: What does it mean to be a chief data ethics officer?

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In a post on our Privacy Perspectives blog this week, Omer Tene and Trevor Hughes wrote about the impact the Obama administration was making on the privacy profession: "With Tuesday’s executive order establishing a Federal Privacy Council, President Obama — who a year ago visited the Federal Trade Commission to give remarks about privacy, who submitted comprehensive consumer privacy legislation to Congress, and who tasked his most senior advisor John Podesta with examining the privacy implications of big data — continued his trailblazing path in privacy policymaking. Of course the administration has less than a year left in office, but the Federal Privacy Council the president created is as permanent as anything can be in Washington and will elevate privacy management in government for years to come."

And here's the link to the full blog post, if you'd like to read the rest of it.

Hmmm.  In 1998 I wrote a little paper called "Keeping up with Joneses: How the United States is falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to privacy." Today, if I were to write the same article, it would be, "Keeping up with the Joneses: How Canada has lost its leadership role when it comes to privacy." Between the EU advancing its GDPR — with huge ramifications for how organizations need to do privacy — and the United States with its prolific regulatory activity over privacy and now its commitment to making privacy front and centre in Washington, I think Canada is falling way behind. And I think most of us can remember a time not so long ago when we were proud of Canada, a flagship for privacy.

I'm pretty sure Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn't read the Canadian Digest. But I sure wish he did! I've often ranted about Canada falling short of the rest of the world, despite all the good work by our commissioners and the bureaucrats at the Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (whoa, wasn't it much easier when it was Industry Canada?). Privacy in Canada needs leadership in the European and American way: It's our politicians who now need to get on board and realize that privacy is one of the most important issues facing society today and in the future.

Interest in privacy, among politicians, has been scattered over the years. Sure, some have championed privacy, at some point or on a particular issue. But with privacy being a constant in the media each day, and at least a factor in many of the laws put forward for debate, I hope this next crop of politicians will recognize the opportunity before them to truly engage and make some decisions that will affect our work as privacy professionals and our information as citizens.

 

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