If you are connected with me on LinkedIn, you might have seen my post earlier this week about a special gathering we’ve planned for all Canadians in attendance at the IAPP’s Global Privacy Summit in less than two weeks’ time. If you’re not connected with me (what are you waiting for?), here is what I was promoting: We, all Canadians and want-to-be Canadians, are going to meet at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in the Congress Room (which is on Level M4). If you are in D.C. for the conference, you don’t want to miss this.
On a more substantive note, I’d say that this week’s news is very interesting. One story, about data breaches at Statistics Canada, made me wonder (again) why more government departments don’t have fully funded and effective privacy departments. I know that Health Canada has implemented a privacy office of sorts, but what is striking about the news articles from Statistics Canada is that nowhere is there a quote or even a mention of the chief privacy officer for that organization. If there is one, looks like they were lying low during this embarrassing story.
And, not to pick on Statistics Canada or anything, but I’m also mindful that in one of the listservs I’m on, a discussion has been brewing about the extent to which that government department is partnering with the private sector to collect even more personal information. The example that was brought to light was the fact that Statistics Canada appears to have deals with the credit bureaus to collect all personal information stored by those financial institutions. Does that seem a bit Big Brother to you?
I’m all for having our government do good work with data, including personal information. And, I think Statistics Canada plays a vital role in helping the government understand what’s going on in the country. But, at the same time, there is something about transparency, openness and safeguards. From the stories that have recently surfaced, I’d say that a well-funded CPO might be a step in the right direction.
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