Sunday, December 11, 2005

Canadian draft guidelines to shield personal information from the USA Patriot Act

The Canadian Press just released a story about new draft guidelines for Canadian federal government departments designed to (at least try to) shield information about Canadians from the reach of the USA Patriot Act. The guidelines remain in draft form as the election has intervened to prevent them from being tabled in Parliament this fall and more internal consultations are taking place.

Canada drafts proposals to shield personal data from U.S. anti-terror law - Yahoo! News

... The draft guidance document suggests, in the interest of upholding Canadian privacy laws, that federal databases of sensitive personal information created by contractors be located in Canada and be accessible only within the country.

However, it recognizes international trade obligations may make this impossible. In such cases, the government suggests contractors must agree to respect Canadian privacy laws as a condition of contract.

The guidelines say that if the privacy risk is considered high, a federal department might go so far as to cut off the flow of personal information to a foreign firm should it be "presented with an order" - such as an FBI notice - compelling release of data about Canadians.

In general, the guidelines encourage departments to assess each potential contract case-by-case to gauge the possibility of privacy invasion, the expectations of Canadians, and likelihood of injury to a person's "career, reputation, financial position, safety, health or well-being."

Treasury Board spokesman Robert Makichuk said the draft guidelines were undergoing revision following internal federal consultations....

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