On Thursday of this week, I was fortunate enough to find myself in a meet-and-greet session with Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) seems to be hosting a few of these types of meetings with the objective of giving the new commissioner an opportunity to speak directly with the people who do privacy every day.
Commissioner Therrien was very gracious in his remarks and emphasized (more than once) that he is not intent on examining privacy problems in isolated silos. He spoke about a collaborative approach of consultations, fact-gathering, listening and decision-making.
I asked what he thought were the biggest issues on his learning curve, now that he has had a few months under his belt. He responded with two issues: The first was big data, data analysis and how the consent model in PIPEDA is being put to the test as a result. The second was his deeper understanding of how international the world of privacy is and, in particular, the important role Canada plays in bringing various jurisdictions together. To this end, he paid homage to Jennifer Stoddart’s work and emphasized that he would be satisfied if he was able to keep pace with the work she had done on the international stage.
All in all, I had a chock-full week, with back-to-school and other activities, and this meeting was definitely a highlight. Kudos to the OPC for organizing opportunities for the commissioner to engage with stakeholders. Let’s hope that it’s a good sign of things to come.
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