On LinkedIn this past week, I posted the following: “On April 25, ISED released a statement saying the government will take immediate steps to modernize PIPEDA. It comes in the wake of the privacy commissioners' findings into Facebook. They say, 'Our government has taken immediate action to address these concerns including the modernization of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which could result in fines of up to $100,000 for companies failing to comply ...'”
Apart from a bit of social media attention, this government announcement didn’t get too much coverage ... but it should have. It sounds like a pretty firm commitment to do something concrete to PIPEDA. Exactly what they have in mind is a mystery to me, so if you happen to know more about it, please let me know, and I will share more broadly with the privacy community in Canada.
In other news this week, Google was handed a setback in the Federal Court case dealing with the "right to be forgotten." Google had hoped to expand the scope of the reference so that they could more clearly argue that, in their view, PIPEDA needs to be interpreted in a way consistent with the freedom of expression rights guaranteed in our Charter. As it stands, the reference is more narrowly construed so the freedom of expression argument might not be considered — at least at this early stage of the proceedings. Not surprisingly, Google has already appealed, thus signaling that this litigation is going to drag on for quite some time.
Maybe, if the government is serious about modernizing PIPEDA, they will do so in a way that more clearly delineates the right to be forgotten — one way or the other — so as to avoid this long, drawn-out litigation. That, I think, would be good for everyone. Let’s make some concrete decisions on some of these issues and get on with it.
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