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Trump’s Executive Order Eliminates Privacy Act Protections for Foreigners

President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on domestic safety, released yesterday, has enormous implications for the privacy of everyone living outside the United States. For Canadians, the order should raise significant concerns about government data shared with U.S. authorities as well as the collection of Canadian personal information by U.S. agencies. Given the close integration between U.S. and Canadian agencies – as well as the fact that Canadian Internet traffic frequently traverses into the U.S. – there are serious implications for Canadian privacy. Moreover, the order will raise major concerns in the European Union, creating the possibility of restrictions on data transfers as it seemingly kills the Privacy Shield compromise.

Section 14 of the Executive Order states:

Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information. 

The protection of Canadian information which ends up in U.S. hands has long been a source of concern. Professor Lisa Austin has written about “constitutional black holes” in which Canadian data is not protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection afforded to the data in the United States is at a lower standard than for its citizens and permanent residents.

The Privacy Act referenced in the order did not extend privacy rights to non-U.S. citizens and permanent residents when it first enacted in 1974. However, in 2007, the Department of Homeland Security issued a policy that extended some provisions to non-U.S. persons. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, there has been much written on the need to extend privacy protections to foreigners.

The Trump Executive Order makes it clear that U.S. agencies should ensure that their policies do not extend privacy rights to non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents under the Privacy Act. The intent and effect of the order means that the personal information of Canadians will not be protected under that statute. The decision requires an immediate review by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada on the effect of Canadian personal information and data sharing agreements and a potential re-assessment of what personal information is made available to U.S. agencies.

52 Comments

  1. privacy, property, freedom of info
    the era of ‘you aren’t one of us, are you?’ is here
    and like trade treaties, (none of which ever fulfilled their terms. ie: softwood quotes)

    will get monitized.
    small biz plans, anyone? for a ai-drone price…
    fresh from new-print services (can.ed.ca-ca)

    there. why do I feel like a court jester now?

    packrat2

  2. We are witnessing the not-so-slow death of American democracy at the hands of El Caudillo del Mar a Lago. In less than a week, President* Trump – the asterisk is because he’s not a legitimate president any more than Barry Bonds is the legitimate holder of baseball’s home run title and should have an asterisk, too – has gagged U.S. government scientists, proposed reinstituting torture and black site prisons, hinted at walking away from the Paris climate accord and, now, beginning the process of stripping privacy rights first from non-citizens but how long do you think it will take him to issue a secret order expanding this order to include Americans?

    Suddenly, the question is the extent to which the Canadian government will strenuously object to Canadians being spied upon by NSA and the rest of the national security alphabet soup in the US? My fear is that Ottawa will quietly drop any objections in exchange for preserving NAFTA.

    Rome did not lose the framework of its democracy after the Emperors became the supreme ruler. The Senate still met, still considered laws, but approved everything the Emperor demanded.

    How could a nation that institutionalized democracy in the 1700s elect such a man as Pres*. Trump is beyond me. (Well, the US didn’t exactly elect him since Mrs. Clinton received some 3-million more votes that did the loud mouthed yam.) For those of us in Canada, it is as scary as it must be to most Americans.

    • Devil's Advocate says:

      “Suddenly, the question is the extent to which the Canadian government will strenuously object to Canadians being spied upon by NSA and the rest of the national security alphabet soup in the US?”

      As part of the “Five Eyes” agreement, our government has been quite willing to allow our citizens to be spied on by not only the U.S., but pretty much everyone else. This, as revealed through the Snowden leaks, has been going on for some time. (Which makes the question far from “suddenly”.)

      Don’t expect any change to this anytime soon. Justin’s been just as hard at work selling us down the river as Harper was.

      In the light of Snowden’s work, you would think citizens everywhere on the globe would be raging against what the leaks told us, and their governments would be doing what they could to rein in all the spying. Strangely, I don’t see much of that going on at all. At least, not in proportion to what has been revealed, and the damage it has already done to our rights and freedoms.

      • just to clarify….Mr. Trudeau is Prime Minister and Mr. Harper was Premier of Ontario

      • > In the light of Snowden’s work, you would think citizens everywhere on the globe would be raging against what the leaks told us
        Many citizens around the world are doing just that.

        > and their governments would be doing what they could to rein in all the spying
        That’s the problem. Rather than trying to rein it in, governments around the world seem to have taken the Snowden leaks as an instruction manual. Democracy is starting to crack under the assault of internationalization when all countries just pressure each other to erode freedoms until nobody has any left.

        • Devil's Advocate says:

          Yes, there are “groups” of citizens who are launching efforts to raise public awareness. These groups mostly compile petitions to government departments, and try to organize demonstrations.

          The problem is that the “public awareness” part is not resulting in massive public outrage, massive participation, or even the slightest change in their behaviour toward social networking.

          Petitions are fine, and the odd “rally” we’re seeing certainly doesn’t hurt, but there’s too much corporate capture of our government. There are too many “interests” working to not only maintain the privacy losses we’ve suffered, but to expand them to the point of wiping out our privacy completely, as well as making it impossible to operate with any anonymity.

          There needs to be a massive public push-back. And that, in turn, needs a massive change in the way we handle our use of the Internet, and a massive refusal to allow our info to be simply taken by everyone involved.

          People have to stop cooperating with all these false “requirements” to share EVERYTHING about themselves, as some sort of “default condition” of usage. People have to start demanding the legal right to have CONTROL over their own personal data. It should be completely illegal to mine anyone’s info, short of a court order, if we’re serious about this.

          The way it is right now, every form of 3rd party company mines, stores, shares and sells our data, with no accountability, and no way for us to know any of it. This silent “agreement” we have with marketers and the like makes it much harder to make a point against government and police, who feel they have a bigger stake in the info, and a more “valid” reason for having free access to it.

          People continue to use all forms of social networking on all forms of devices, and sharing all forms of personal information, while still not understanding the implications. In addition, they’re still willing to jump all over the “Internet of Things”, and introduce a shitload of completely unprotected devices into their personal networks.

          It’s very difficult to get the General Mentality to absorb what is being done to them, and what is wrong with that. The average person is so attached to these devices, he/she is not willing to believe there’s any threat attached to them – even to the point of viewing this subject as nothing more than “sci-fi nonsense”.

          • Mike McAllister says:

            Devils’ Advocate… Very astute, I firmly believe that you are correct sir, and so I use such devices quite sparingly. I certainly don’t need an internet enabled refrigerator. Unfortunately many people are so eager to get the latest ‘cool’ device, which will track them, they resemble nothing more than the tail wagging dog who sits in happy anticipation for it’s leash. A rogers TV ad aimed at 20 somethings last year was actually attempting to make it ‘cool’ to have a chip implanted. This has already been successfully sold to some, as a marketing trial run.

  3. James

    To be clear she had 3 million more popular votes that’s not the same as try votes and its how the system has worked for over 80 years like it or not as for legitimate president keep in mind many protesters who make that claim are not American and or have other motives.

    • Tom Lawrence says:

      The overwhelming majority of protesters in the US WERE American citizens!

      Americans have the right to peaceful protests, it’s part of our heritage. You’re spreading “alternative facts” that “…protesters who make that claim are not American and or have other motives.” is pure BS!!! Yes, the protests overseas were not Americans, BUT they were protesting the impact Little-Hands Donnie will have on the world.

      The Russian influence in our election is being swept under the rug and we are no longer a truly free and independent country if a foreign factor can influence our democratic process. Perhaps this is the goal the Republicans have been after for years, the surest way to keep control of the government is to invite a foreign entity into the political system.

      Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million votes and still lost the Electoral College. 53.9% of voting Americans did NOT vote for the Orange Twitler! That does not give him the mandate to completely change this country. But that’s exactly what he’s doing.

      Stay tuned! This will get much worse over the next four years!!!

    • Although I’ve lived in Canada for 20+ years, I remain an American citizen who is deeply concerned about what is happening.

      The Electoral College system, which is what I assume you mean by “try system,” was written into the Constitution some 250 years ago – not 80 – as a way of mollifying smaller states and states that allowed slaves. It is obsolete in the 21st century.

      • Ugh. At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, there were more small states in the north than the south. The Electoral College has nothing to do with slavery. The EC has more relevance now than ever. As a former resident of Illinois, I can appreciate and assure you the benefits of the safeguards against a large city dominating the electorate.

        • Nice thoughts, but the “First Past the Post on steroids” nature of the way the Electoral College system works in modern practice provides empirical evidence that counters your claim.

          In a country of over 300 million people, with gerrymandering as it currently stands, a single vote from Wyoming or Ohio is worth ten times the value of a vote from New York or LA.

          Hardly a good example of how a representative democracy is supposed to work. We think our system sucks; the American system is sheer lunacy.

          Proportional Representation is the way to go. The two party power structure is a sham.

  4. Tom

    People are not saying people can’t have peaceful protests they can and many did but many did riot example a car was set on fire with the driver still in it as for motives yes if you look at what some of there groups there its not because of Trump he may be part of it but there are other reasons for there march and protests.

    As for the popular vote what is funny is many on the left thought Clinton was going to win the general vote but lose the popular vote your right watch what Trump does but also watch what many of these groups call for one example is some womens groups say if a female is raped that’s all should be needed to send the man to jail no trial etc.

    • What utter nonsense – the Saturday march had no violence and there were no arrests made according to both the District Police and the National Parks Service police. There were no cars set on fire, with or without people in them.

      Deplorably, several cars were torched during the small protest on Friday during the Inaugural ceremony itself. But no one was injured and no cars were set ablaze with people in them. Pure internet balderdash started by uniformed right wing trolls.

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  6. Mike Sullivan says:

    Over three years ago I asked the privacy commissioner to investigate the breach of privacy of Ellen Richardson whose medical information was revealed to US border agents through Canada’s information sharing, specifically CPIC database. To date, despite repeated assurances that ‘they are working on it’ there has been no response.

  7. Who cares… You people whining about Trump is pathetic… Let him do his thing… People need to shut their cake holes….

  8. It is good to ask to protect data of Canadian citizens.

    God bless President Trump, his government and the USA!

    May He grant him wisdom in everything he does!

    Obviously he needs to deal with damaging foreign influences such as George Soros who finances radical and perverted agenda and NGOs. There is also Muslim brotherhood and its agenda of sharia law.

    I pray that ant-iTrump and antichristian haters and their curses have no effect what so ever!

    May their hearts be humbled before You, Lord! I pray that this nation that rejected all that is good and rejected God will repent, that your people who had become nominal Christians, that they get on their knees, pray and repent. I pray that blasphemers repent.

    I pray that grandparents remind their grandchildren that Canada was once a Christian nation and her morals were grounded in God and Christian values. Moral values are objective, not subjective. Abortion is a murder of a God given life. Rainbow is not a sign of a movement but is a God’s sign about His mercy.

    I pray that we may live a quiet peaceful life.

    In Jesus’ mighty name I pray!

    Signed,

    Canadian Ex-Liberal Ex-Secularist saved by the grace of God

    • I have bad news for you. George Soros and Donald Trump belong to different factions of the same monster class.

    • I have more bad news for you.
      Canada has NEVER been a Christian nation.

      And here’s even more….

      Most of the alt-right hate-mongers we see preaching ignorance and bigotry…are Christians.

  9. The order changes no laws and it’s unclear whether it overrides the existing privacy agreements between Canada and the US. The following document from the Department of Homeland Security indicates the problems that would arise if these agreements fall apart: .

    Clearly, Canadian citizens and corporations should be wary.

    • I’m trying to understand…what are the existing privacy agreements that exist/existed between Canada and US before this order?

      Under the Privacy Act, foreigner’s privacy never was protected, as I understand it, with the exception of a policy issued by Homeland Security in 2007.

      • There are people who know much more about this than I do, but there are agreements regarding information exchange between the 5 eyes. Canada also shares income tax information for US persons in Canada. I believe information about criminal history is also shared. I can’t imagine Canada entering into any agreement with the US or other foreign nation that would allow the US to violate the privacy rights of Canadians. The US Homeland Security policy reflects the trade offs needed to enact these agreements.

        We need to be wary because business trade secrets, etc, might fall into foreign hands and be exploited. It has been reported that Internet meta data are being shared.

        I believe it is correct that US law does not respect the privacy rights of foreigners outside the US, but there is some protection under US law when foreigners are present in the US.

        • The thing is this.

          I understand that before this order personal data of foreigners was already NOT protected under the Privacy Act, with the exception of a policy issued in 2007 by Homeland Security, and this regards the data that American agencies have access to, not private companies etc..

          What I don’t understand is why now it’s a big deal when really, it’s nothing new basically…and some of the information I have read on the subject makes it sounds like this new order is a big threat to Canadian’s privacy when Canadian’s pivacy was already under threat way long before…

          Sure it brings attention to the matter, and it’s a good thing, but some commentators make it seems like it’s a Trump thing, which seems biased to me.

          • After I read the Homeland Security policy, I came to the conclusion that it was issued primarily so Homeland Security could enter into data sharing agreements with foreign nations. Possibly, trade agreements are also affected.

            I wouldn’t trust the separation of US government institutions and private companies. All data tends to leak…

            I agree that our privacy is under threat. Primarily, this is a matter of technology, but changing laws and policies are also a factor. For example, the Liberals recently expanded the sharing of information between Canadian government agencies. So, yes this is not just a Trump issue.

            There is a balance between privacy and ensuring society functions in a secure and lawful manner. Years ago when I attended a conference in the former Soviet Union, I was struck by the oppressive nature of government surveillance.
            I value our privacy.

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  22. You’re right, we shouldn’t trust the separation of US government institutions and private companies. Thanks to Snowden, we know that for sure now.

    thanks for the comments !

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