Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Privacy Site of the Day: The Public Interest Advocacy Centre

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has been among the most active and vocal participants in the privacy debate in Canada. This country does not have the same organized consumer advocacy groups as does the United States. Consumer and citizen voices are often difficult to hear in policy debates. But on privacy matters, PIAC has had a lot to say and they have also undertaken some interesting projects.

To begin with, PIAC commented on the CSA Model Code (the heart of PIPEDA) and the bills that led to PIPEDA. They have participated in the consultation process and Philippa Lawson has appeared at privacy conferences to plead the public interest case. From the point of view of a privacy lawyer, one of their greatest contributions has been to complain to the Privacy Commissioner about the "opt-out" practices of a number of the countries companies and then to release the full text of the findings on their website. Because the Commissioner only releases brief summaries of her findings, these are instructive reading.

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