You’ve probably heard a lot recently about Bill C-30. It’s technically called the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act but commonly referred to as the “Lawful Access” Bill. To learn more about this highly controversial law please watch this short video – click here>>
I recently discussed Bill C-30 (lawful access) with host Jeremy John on CityTV’s Breakfast Television Winnipeg. Click here to watch the discussion about this controversial online surveillance Bill.
Thanks to everyone from across Canada who attended today’s Access to Information webinar. If you weren’t able to attend, you can now watch/listen to the webinar here. Topics covered included:
- Overview of access to information 101: the basics
- The 3 vantage points: public bodies, applicants & third parties
- Review of recent cases/headlines
- Identifying key legal and PR landmines
- Discussion of trends in access to information
- Practical tips for managing requests in a cost-effective manner
Bill C-28, commonly referred to as the “Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act”, went through second reading in the House of Commons last week. The Standing Committee for Industry, Science and Technology will meet tomorrow for further discussions.
Some of my previous posts regarding the anti-spam law can be viewed here. You can find detailed information on this bill, and any other, through LegisInfo, a “collaborative effort of the Parliamentary Information and Research Service and the Information and Document Resource Service of the Library of Parliament”. Stay tuned…
The recent headlines over the Veteran Affairs Canada privacy breach should serve as a useful reminder to all organizations – public and private sector – of the necessity to implement internal policies and procedures for the management of personal information. Much attention is paid these days by the media to privacy breaches that involve external parties, such as hackers, who foil the security safeguards of organizations. However, in my experience the bigger threat to privacy if often from within an organization.
In this recent case involving Veteran Affairs, a veteran had filed a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) alleging that Veterans Affairs had violated the Privacy Act by including excessively detailed and sensitive medical information in briefing notes to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. The complainant also alleged that Veteran Affairs had transferred his medical file to a hospital administered by Veterans Affairs without his consent.
The OPC has issued the following formal recommendations to Veterans Affairs, but they should also serve as useful recommendations to other organizations:
- Revise existing information-management practices and policies to ensure that personal information is shared within the department on a need-to-know basis only. Personal information, including but not limited to sensitive medical information, should not be shared with programs that have no operational requirements for access to such information.
- Provide training for employees about appropriate personal information-handling practices.
- Review procedures to ensure that consent is obtained prior to personal information being transferred to veterans’ hospitals.”
Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, released her 2009 – 2010 Annual Report to Parliament on the Privacy Act today. In her Annual Report, Stoddart says that “[t]he federal government’s use of handheld communications devices and its practices for disposing of unneeded paper documents and surplus computers could expose the personal information of Canadians to unauthorized disclosure”.
Key lessons for the private sector from today’s Annual Report include, among other things, (1) a reminder of the need to assess the threats/risks inherent in wireless communications and to fill any gaps in policies and/or practices related to smart phones, Wi-Fi networks and data stored on mobile devices and (2) ensuring that policies and procedures are in place for paper shredding and the disposal of surplus computer equipment.
Read the full Annual Report here>>.
Have you ever wondered if an electronic document like an e-mail or a scanned image can be used instead of a paper document to meet a legal requirement? How about using an electronic signature as opposed to a written signature?
Unfortunately, the provincial government’s dithering over the past decade will not help you answer these important questions.
Manitoba’s e-commerce legislation, called The Electronic Commerce and Information Act, was passed in the Manitoba Legislature in 2000. It was then billed as a cutting edge law that would help Manitobans to prosper in the online world.
It’s safe to say that the Alberta provincial government is regarded as being right wing. But Manitoba’s? Not at all. So why then is Alberta light years ahead of Manitoba at protecting workers’ privacy?
The above link takes you to the Winnipeg Sun. I’m delighted to have been asked by Sun Media Corp. to provide Comment columns like today’s on a monthly basis. I hope you find them of interest!