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Privacy Bill C-11 Hollows out Consumer Privacy

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020
OTTAWA– (16 November 2020) Consumer privacy in Canada will be destroyed if Bill C-11, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 [including Part 1 - Consumer Privacy Protection Act], is passed, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (“PIAC”) today . This new Bill is intended to replace and strengthen the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and but conversely hurts consumer privacy by removing key consent requirements. PIAC Executive Director, John Lawford stated: “We are aghast that the federal government feels it can weaken consumer privacy with a doublespeak Bill that removes a consumer’s right to protect his or her personal information that is used for any ‘business activity’ if it is 'de-identified' or used for what the government deems is a 'socially beneficial purpose'. This counterproductive Bill should be withdrawn and rewritten to protect consumers, not to favour big business,” he added.

Comments on Ontario Privacy Consultation: PIAC Calls for Strengthening PIPEDA and Introducing Provincial Employment Privacy Legislation

Friday, October 16th, 2020
OTTAWA– (16 October 2020) The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (“PIAC”) today responded to the government of Ontario’s Consultation to strengthen privacy protections in Ontario with PIAC’s recommendations for strengthening privacy protections in Ontario’s private sector, preferably by strengthening the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and introducing provincial employment privacy legislation. PIAC recommended bolstering privacy protections – whether in PIPEDA or a new Ontario statute – by making privacy a right, by widening the scope of privacy legislation and by greatly increasing compliance and enforcement powers of privacy authorities.

PIAC files new CRTC Application regarding COVID Alert, Alberta apps

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020
OTTAWA - 9 September 2020 - The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) an Application requesting CRTC oversight of potential linkages between IP addresses generated by use of Health Canada's "COVID Alert" app (as well as similar uses of IP addresses and additionally, mobile phone numbers, by the "ABTraceTogether" app in Alberta) and telecommunications subscriber information. The Application requests that the CRTC ensure that all Canadian cellphone and Internet companies'  involvement in potential or actual linkages of information from contact-tracing apps to confidential telecommunications information held by cellphone and Internet companies for public health purposes is done in accordance with privacy requirements of Canada's telecommunications law. PIAC Executive Director John Lawford stated: "Now we know how COVID Alert and ABTraceTogether work, PIAC sees a potential personal information "leak" if the government uses info from the apps to ask cellphone companies for more information on users. The CRTC must set out rules limiting any such access requests by the government to protect Canadians' privacy."

Open Letter to Facebook: Don’t Launch “Messenger Kids” in Canada

Friday, June 22nd, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today published an open letter to Facebook urging the social media giant not to launch the "Facebook Messenger Kids" app in Canada. PIAC's letter points to the collection and retention of young users' actual communications by Facebook, without a clear rationale, something that PIAC claims may, along with other flaws, violate Canadian privacy laws. "This is not a toy," said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. "It is a sophisticated social networking tool with significantly intrusive data collection - and it's intended for kids - who cannot even consent to it themselves." The letter raises a number of concerns that Facebook Messenger Kids, as presently structured, may violate Canadian privacy laws.

PIAC Research Shows Consumers Interested in Universal “Privacy Box”, More Options in Protecting Online Privacy

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017
A new research report shows Canadians value their online privacy and would be interested in the development of a universal “Privacy Box” which would allow them to access standardized privacy settings for online services and applications.

PIAC Participates in Parliamentary Review of PIPEDA

Friday, February 17th, 2017
On February 14, 2017, PIAC appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics as part of a review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

PIAC’s Comments on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Discussion Paper on Privacy and Consent

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
Canadian consumers generally are not aware of and do not understand how information about their online activities is being collected and used. The problem is not that online businesses are unable to obtain consent, but that consumers’ personal information too often is being used without meaningful consent.

Do the Watchers Need More Watching, New Report Asks

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) releases new report entitled “Off the Grid: Pinpointing Location-based technologies and the Law,” examining whether Canada has sufficient protections in place to address the risks posed by location-based technologies (LBTs). The report also addressed whether Canadian consumers have sufficient disclosure regarding how and when telecommunications service providers collect and use location-based personal information.

Privacy Commissioner: Bell’s approach to privacy a bad RAP

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) applauds findings released today by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) regarding Bell Canada’s (Bell) collection and use of information about its customers for behavioural marketing under its “relevant ads program” (RAP).

Canadian Consumers Need More Protection Dealing with “Free” Services

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
New PIAC report, “No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: Consumer Contracts and “Free” Services”
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