Monday, July 09, 2012

Canada’s privacy commissioner calls into question ombudsman model

Luis Millan at Law In Quebec has a very interesting article on the Privacy Commissioner's recent calls for order making powers and the ability to levy fines.

In addition to my comments on how it may be problematic from a procedural fairness point of view, others have some very interesting comments.

The article refers to recent report that calls for increased powers to encourage compliance by small and medium sized businesses.

“The ombudsman model is based on finding solutions through consensus, and to fine a business that does not comply with the statute is contrary to the very foundation of the ombudsman model,” noted Houle, an administrative law scholar who, along with Sossin, is part of a team assisting the Privacy Commissioner with the review she is now conducting. “We believe that if Parliament agrees with the Commissioner that order-making power should be conferred to the OPC then the OPC should be transformed into another type of board like a regulatory board such as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.”

Despite the report's findings, the Commissioner has mainly been talking about it to coerce very large, American internet companies that have very large compliance departments and expend significant resources on privacy.

Check it out: Canada’s privacy commissioner calls into question ombudsman model « Law in Quebec.

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