Are you sick of hearing about Safe Harbor? I’m afraid that we’re all going to continue to be inundated with the fallout of the agreement’s demise, so I advise that you simply hold your nose and be ready for a ton more in the weeks and months to come. There. That’s all I’m going to say about that in this space.
I thought I should probably concentrate on the big Canadian news of the week: the results of the federal election.
I wouldn’t call myself the most optimistic person when setting expectations with the coming-into-force of a new political party. I suppose it’s the sceptic in me that thinks we have to wait and see just how many campaign promises are actually kept. That being said, there are a few things from a privacy perspective that I’ll be watching, considering the following items were taken from the Liberal party platform:
- A complete review of Bill C-51, including making it clear when the government must obtain search warrants before embarking on surveillance—not to mention the idea of creating a political oversight committee made up of all political parties. (Maybe it’s the sceptic in me again, but I’m not sure how effective that type of committee will be.)
- Making it much easier to access one’s personal information. While I applaud the notion, I do hope the new government goes further and looks at a more comprehensive overhaul of the severely outdated Privacy Act.
- Ensuring that the privacy commissioner and other officers of Parliament are well-funded to do their jobs and truly accountable to Parliament, as opposed to the government of the day.
- A complete review of the Access to Information Act. Admittedly, it’s not a promise to review the Privacy Act, but the two laws are so closely related, I can’t help but hope that the two laws might be looked at in unison. And, with respect to the promise of giving the access commissioner order-making powers, I can’t help but think someone will also raise the possibility of doing this for the privacy commissioner as well.
For me, what was glaringly missing from Mr. Trudeau’s campaign promises were concrete ideas about the digital economy and, more precisely, ensuring that Canada had the right data protection laws in place for the private sector to be able to thrive in that digital economy. Only time will tell if one of the newly elected MPs decides this is an important issue for Canada and gets this onto the government’s agenda. Maybe the fallout from the Safe Harbor’s death will prompt something. Oops, sorry for mentioning it again.
What about the new government has you excited or hopeful about privacy? Or, are you even more doubtful than me that our issue will see a real impact with the change? Let me know what you'd like to see!
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