I spent this first week of February helping out a client in sunny California (poor me) and I can tell you it wasn't a bad way to pay the bills and get some vitamin D — something I know I'm missing this time of year.
This week reminded me again just how most privacy issues have really become quite borderless. In fact, a privacy issue that doesn't have a transborder or online element of it is, pretty much, an anomaly these days.
Businesses typically take compliance cues, first, from the country where they originate. Makes sense, right? But they also know they need to understand and adapt to other regimes if they want to be truly international and as effective as possible in this borderless space.
As someone who advises on how things work from a Canadian regulatory perspective, I often wonder if we couldn't do a better job on this front — and by "we" I mean all of us on this planet who do privacy for a living. It's got to be pretty confusing and conflicting, at times, for those trying to do it right. I know there has been work to address this from a legal and policy perspective mostly by the federal commissioner in Canada, and others as well. But I think we should consider taking it a step further. Some consistency in the actual implementation and the day-to-day application of those laws and policies is what has real impact.
This week, there was a lot of news of a new Safe Harbour agreement between the U.S. and Europe that is supposed to be another tool to help in this regards. In my mind, while I don't want to understate the importance of this achievement, it signaled that there is still a lot of work to do in this global privacy world of ours. Here's to hoping that we get it right someday soon.
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