It has taken many months, but Bill C-27, the government’s long overdue effort at privacy reform finally is headed to committee for review. Philippe Dufresne, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has been patiently waiting for this moment, armed with a comprehensive review of the bill and a wide range of recommendations for amendments that include a more explicit framing of privacy as a fundamental right.
Dufresne was appointed as Canada’s privacy commissioner nearly one year ago and in months since has made numerous committee appearances, issued high profile findings involving companies such as Home Depot, battled Internet companies in the courts, and worked on the privacy implications of AI. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to reflect back on his first year in the position and to outline his proposals to strengthen Canada’s best shot at a modernized privacy law.
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Over the past several weeks, there have been several important privacy developments in Canada including troubling privacy practices at well-known organizations such as the CBC and Tim Hortons, a call from business organizations for privacy reform, the nomination of a new privacy commissioner with little privacy experience, and a decision by a Senate committee to effectively overrule the government on border privacy rules. These developments raise the puzzling question of why the federal government – led by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, and Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez – are so indifferent to privacy, at best treating it as a low priority issue and at worst proposing dangerous measures or seemingly hoping to cash in on weak privacy laws in order to fund other policy priorities.
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