Archive for August, 2009

We’ve had a Privacy Commissioner here in Canada for decades now, but the office has become much more visible since January 1, 2001, when the first phase of PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) came into effect. Since January 1, 2004, the Act has applied to all organizations that collect and use personal data and assures some privacy for citizens. A good example is the transfer of personal data from one commercial organization to another. Under PIPEDA in Canada, such a transfer is forbidden unless the person to whom the data corresponds explicitly consents. From my own experience, I have noticed that subscriptions to American magazines always resulted in an increase in the volume of junk mail sent to our home, whereas the same doesn’t occur for Canadian magazine subscriptions.

With the Act in full effect for almost six years, it’s really nice to see the Office of the Privacy Commissioner backing it up and taking on significant problem cases. Recently, they confronted Facebook for passing on personal information to third parties without users’ prior consent. Last week saw the OPC get the changes they wanted from the social networking site. That’s a pretty big win and it’s made even more significant by the fact that the consequences aren’t limited to Canadians — all Facebook users will benefit.

Companies that keep users’ personal data in the cloud may be wise to check out Canada’s PIPEDA, even if they’re based in another country. If their business models depend upon transferring my personal data to other organizations, I hope they’ll have the decency of asking me first…

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CLA Open House

The Canadian Library Association is holding an Open House event in two weeks’ time, and I’m hoping to drop in. Unfortunately, this seems to only have been announced through the listserv, with no mention on the CLA website, so here are the details:

CLA Open House
4:30 – 7:00 PM, Friday September 11th, 2009
328 Frank Street (near the intersection of O’Connor and Glastone)

If you’re attending, I’ll see you there.

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