Monday, October 30, 2006

Geist on Ottawa's new strategy for lawful access

Michael Geist's most recent Law Bytes column in the Toronto Star discusses documents obtained under the Access to Information Act which provide a behind the scenes view of the government and consulted stakeholders on "lawful access". There's no link to the documents themselves, but the column makes interesting reading. See: Michael Geist - Ottawa's Divide and Conquer Strategy for Net Surveillance.

What I find particularly interesting is this:

With the government working to diminish the effectiveness of the privacy community, it is particularly disheartening to learn that officials also recognize that Canadian privacy legislation suffers from serious shortcomings. A Department of Justice memorandum candidly notes that "current privacy laws may not be sufficient to protect Canadians' personal information," acknowledging that "federal privacy legislation is not responsive to new technologies, including the Internet, biometrics, data matching and data mining, video and infrared surveillance, the decoding of the human genome, the need for protection of genetic information and the ability to store and manipulate large personal data banks."

Officials are open to reform, stating that "as the privacy and personal information of citizens and businesses is increasingly vulnerable in the online environment, substantive measures to protect personal information need to be considered." Potential solutions apparently considered by the Department of Justice include the establishment of a new Task Force on online privacy.

This suggests a strong interest in reopening PIPEDA as part of the five year review that's just beginning. Or it suggests that real changes will be put off until after the online privacy task force has completed its work.

No comments: