Fwd: Re: [FoRK] National Identity - Canada

Tracie K Meyer con10gent_sentience
Sun Oct 16 14:16:25 PDT 2005

Albert Scherbinsky <albert at softwarepress.com> wrote:

>This hackneyed writer knows that Canada
does not practice seperation of church and state as
evidenced by the publicly funded Catholic school board
in Ontario. 
>This hackneyed writer knows that like in
the U.S. corporations have undue influence over
Canadian politics. 
>This hackneyed writer knows that in
some cases companies have been found to be involved
with fraudulently aquiring public funds and then
giving those funds to political parties.
[...]different from the U.S.? 
hackneyed writers don't let the facts get in the way
of their writing.

Report on Canada's Privacy Law
Oct 13, 2005  By News Staff 
The Privacy Act is an outdated and often inadequate public sector data
protection law, according to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada,
Jennifer Stoddart, in her 2004-2005 Annual Report on the Privacy Act,
which was tabled last Thursday in Parliament. The Privacy Commissioner's
2004 Annual Report on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic
Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada's private sector privacy law, was also

In her 2004-2005 Annual Report on the Privacy Act, the Commissioner
highlights some of the most significant issues her Office has faced in
the past year. These include security and the voracious appetite for
personal information and surveillance that has sprung up in the
post-9/11 environment, and the sharing of information and outsourcing of
data operations across borders. She also emphasizes the long overdue
need to modernize the Privacy Act, a first generation privacy law which
has not been substantially amended since its inception in 1983. 

"The privacy landscape is infinitely more complex today than it was a
decade ago," states Ms. Stoddart. "Faced with increased globalization
and extensive outsourcing of personal information processing and
storage, Canada's Privacy Act lags woefully behind."

In her report, the Commissioner elaborates on the situation and explains
some of the important things for the government to consider in updating
the Privacy Act, for example:
There are gaps in the Privacy Act's coverage. Many institutions,
including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, are not
subject to privacy law.

Under the Privacy Act, only those present in Canada have the right to
seek access to their personal information. This means airline
passengers, as well as immigration applicants, foreign student
applicants, and countless other foreigners with information in Canadian
government files, have no legal right to examine or correct erroneous
information, to know how their information is used or disclosed, or to
complain to the Commissioner.

Although government use of data matching arguably poses the greatest
threat to individuals' privacy, the Privacy Act is silent on the
practice. Government institutions should be obligated to link personal
records in discrete systems only when demonstrably necessary, and under
the continued vigilant oversight of the Commissioner. 

Complainants may only seek a Court review of, and remedies for, denials
of access to their personal information. This means that allegations of
improper collection, use and disclosure may not be challenged before the
Court, and the subsequent benefit of the Court's guidance on all
government institutions is lost. Nor does the Privacy Act contemplate
remedies for any damages caused by government actions.
The weaknesses of the Privacy Act are even more striking when the law is
measured against PIPEDA. In fact, several of the Commissioner's concerns
could be remedied by adopting provisions similar to those in PIPEDA.

In addition to pointing out the flaws of the Privacy Act, the
Commissioner also calls for a more comprehensive and consistent approach
to managing privacy in the federal government. She recommends seeking
improvements to the current system through the development of a privacy
management framework. A privacy management framework should be designed
to help departments protect the personal information they control by
identifying the inherent privacy risks, and how best to mitigate those

This year, for the first time, the Commissioner has published two
separate annual reports, dividing the Privacy Act from PIPEDA. The
Privacy Act requires the Office to report on the fiscal year
(2004-2005), while under PIPEDA, it must report on the calendar year
(2004). As well, each Act provides a separate framework for
investigations and audits. There is much overlapping between the reports
because many of the Office's activities are not particular to one law or
another and, increasingly, the policy issues are common across the two

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by
Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy
rights in Canada.


If I could only live at the pitch that is near madness
When everything is as it was in my childhood
Violent,vivid,and of infinite possibility:
That the sun and moon broke over my head.-preface,
'Feast of Snakes'

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