Ontario's privacy commissioner releases annual report

(Jun 23, 2017) Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish has released his 2016 Annual Report, “Facing Challenges Together.” In it, Beamish calls for legislative changes to allow for more access to information while boosting privacy protections within the province. The major proposal would have the government enact legislation permitting public institutions to share personal information for policy and research purposes while safeguarding individuals’ privacy by creating a governmentwide framewo... Read More

Gould: Now is not the time for privacy rules for political parties' data collection

(Jun 23, 2017) Despite warnings they may be vulnerable to cyberattacks, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said it is not the proper time to implement privacy and security rules for political parties’ collection of Canadians’ personal data, the Toronto Star reports. While there may be cybersecurity threats ahead of the 2019 election, Gould said she is giving the parties the opportunity to meet and discuss vulnerabilities with the Communications Security Establishment. The CSE cannot directly help th... Read More

Energy company seeks customer info from Nova Scotia Power

(Jun 23, 2017) EfficiencyOne has sent an application to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board asking it to order Nova Scotia Power to turn over customer information, CBC News reports. EfficiencyOne lawyers said they asked Nova Scotia Power for the information last year, but the power corporation would only deliver the data if it received an order from the board. EfficiencyOne wants to use the information to conduct targeted marketing campaigns as energy-efficient programs become more common. The application... Read More

DGA releases Code of Practice draft for data use

(Jun 22, 2017) Data Governance Australia has released a Code of Practice draft for public consultation designed to set industry standards for collecting, using, managing and disclosing data, ZDNet reports. The draft code focuses on ensuring “no harm” is done to the customers by taking the proper steps to make sure data cannot be re-identified and for companies not to use data for unethical purposes. The second principle in draft code focuses on data transparency. “Organisations must be clear and upfront about ... Read More

UN privacy rapporteur on first fact-finding visit to US

(Jun 21, 2017) United Nations Special Rapporteur Joseph Cannataci is undertaking his first official visit to the U.S. The visit started June 19 and runs through June 27. He plans to talk about security and surveillance issues, big data, health care and personal data processed by private organizations, according to a UN press release. "I will place particular focus on the efficacy and proportionality of intrusive measures, identify problematic areas and best practices, and make recommendations for the way forwa... Read More

Service that unmasks anonymous site visitors raises privacy concerns

(Jun 21, 2017) Gizmodo reports on a service that allegedly grabs user data from contact forms in real time even if a user does not click the "Submit" button. NaviStone, the company whose code is on at least 100 retailer websites, purports to unmask anonymous web users. It also says it can send a postcard to the home address of an anonymous visitor within a day or two and match "60–70% of your anonymous site traffic to postal names and addresses." Law Professor Ryan Calo suggested the practice could violate Sec... Read More

Human Project seeks to collect data from participants for 20 years

(Jun 20, 2017) Researchers are looking for 10,000 New Yorkers to share personal information about themselves for a project spanning 20 years, CBS News reports. The Human Project will ask all participants to hand over information about themselves, ranging from medical, financial and educational records to cell phone data. Participants will be given wearable activity trackers and special scales and will be asked to give blood, urine and fecal samples every three years. Researchers hope the results will give them... Read More

Researcher finds open database of 200M US voters

(Jun 20, 2017) A vastly detailed database containing information on nearly every U.S. voter was exposed on the internet for nearly two weeks, The Washington Post reports. The database was apparently left exposed by a political consultancy working for the Republican National Committee and other GOP clients. Cybersecurity Researcher Chris Vickery discovered the 198 million unprotected files, which included, in some cases, ethnicity, religion and political views, during a routine scan last week. The files also in... Read More

Dennedy, Bray talk privacy engineering, AI

(Jun 19, 2017) A column for ZDNet recounts a conversation between Cisco Chief Privacy Officer Michelle Dennedy, CIPP/US, CIPM, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Chief Ventures Officer David Bray on the complexities of protecting privacy when deploying artificial intelligence systems. Dennedy said, "Getting down to business on my side of the world, privacy engineering is using the techniques of the technical, the social, the procedural, the training tools that we have available, and in the most basic ... Read More

Startup aims to turn smartphones into mental health tools

(Jun 19, 2017) BuzzFeed News reports on Mindstrong Health, a startup aimed at using smartphones to help diagnose, track and treat mental health disorders. The startup was created by Thomas Insel, who left Alphabet’s life sciences division, Verily, which was working on similar projects. Mindstrong tracks a smartphone user’s response time when performing tasks, such as scrolling through contact lists. The app identifies the direction individuals scroll on their devices when they found and clicked on what they we... Read More