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    The Canadian Government's Embarrassing Opposition to Security Breach Disclosure Legislation

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    Monday May 27, 2013
    Last week, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released her vision of privacy reform, including the need for security breach disclosure legislation, order-making power, and greater transparency of warrantless disclosure. On the same day as Commissioner Stoddart released her position paper, the government was embarrassing itself in the House of Commons by formally opposing security breach disclosure legislation on the weakest of grounds. The opposition to meaningful privacy reform is particularly discouraging given the thousands of breaches that have occurred in recent years from within the government itself and its claims to be concerned with the privacy of Canadians.

    The government introduced legislation featuring security breach disclosure requirements in Bill C-12 in September 2011 (itself a reintroduction of the former C-29 that was first introduced in 2010).  Since first reading, the bill has not moved. It would take very little for the government to complete second reading and send the bill for study to committee, yet more than a year and a half later, the bill languishes, certain to die this summer when the government hits the parliamentary reset button. Frustrated by the inexplicable delays, NDP MP Charmaine Borg introduced a private member's bill in February (C-475) that includes a mandatory security breach requirement roughly similar to the government's own bill. 


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    NDP MP Charmaine Borg Tries To Kickstart Canada's Dormant Privacy Reform

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    Wednesday February 27, 2013

    As reports of yet another government security breach emerge, NDP MP Charmaine Borg has at least tried to kickstart the government's dormant private sector privacy reform efforts with a private member's bill that would add mandatory security breach disclosure requirements to the law along with new order making power. The government's own privacy reform bill - Bill C-12 - has languished for years with no real effort by Industry Minister Christian Paradis to move it forward. Moreover, the bill has some serious faults, with no penalties for security breach, no update to the Privacy Commissioner's powers, and provisions that make organizations more likely to disclose personal information without warrant during an investigation.

    Bill C-475 is a far better proposal with amendments to PIPEDA with more clear cut security breach disclosure requirements along with order making power that is backed by significant penalties for compliance failures. Those provisions would do far to ensure greater respect for Canadian privacy law and give Canadians the assurance of notifications in the event of security breaches. What the bill does not do, however, is address the other side of the privacy coin, namely the failure of government to hold itself accountable for the personal information it collects and now regularly seems to fail to safeguard.


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    Seeking Solutions to the Mounting Social Media Privacy Concerns

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    Monday June 11, 2012
    The House of Commons Committee on Ethics, Accountability and Privacy recently launched a major new study into the privacy concerns raised by popular social media sites. The study promises to canvass a wide range of perspectives as elected officials grapple with emerging privacy issues and consider whether the current legal framework provides sufficient protection.

    Canadians are among the most active social media users in the world, yet the growing reliance on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ has generated unease with the privacy implications of massive data collection. My weekly technology law column last week (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes I was recently invited to appear before the committee and used my time to identify four areas in need of action.


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    PIAC Report Says Bill C-12 Data Breach Rules Should Be Toughened

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    Tuesday January 10, 2012
    PIAC has released a new report that examines the mandatory data breach reporting requirements in Bill C-12 and concludes that changes are needed to provide adequate privacy protection.
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