Canada’s Digital Privacy Act anything but private

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“The Digital Privacy Act, Bill S-4 has got a provision in it that basically throws the door open to warrantless disclosure of people’s private information to companies, to non-governmental agencies as well as the government,” said David Christopher, spokesman for the Vancouver-based Internet advocacy group OpenMedia.ca.

“The victims of that privacy breach wouldn’t even know about it. It would be a huge step backwards and it has no place in a bill which purports to protect Canadian privacy.”

The Harper government dressing up a draconian act with a soothing sounding title like ‘Digital Privacy Act’ (doesn’t it make you feel your privacy is going to be protected?) would only fool newborn babies and members of the Conservative party. Remember the various ‘Freedom of Information” Acts across Canada and other governments? Everyone knows how those acts restricted access to government information so much even newspapers and journalists ended up with pages and pages of redacted material containing thousands of blacked-out information. The only ‘Freedom’ contained in most of those Acts was the freedom to protect politicians from anyone finding out what the hell is going on.

Years ago a wise man said this to me; “If the government wants you to do it, or says its good for you, run the opposite way as fast as you can.”

The proposed Digital Privacy Act pretty well cancels the Supreme Court decision just last month regarding protecting Canadian against copyright trolling.

Christopher said the proposed Digital Privacy Act legislation would leave Canada open to copyright trolls.

“We are worried about the prospect that US-style copyright trolling might come to Canada,” he said. “Their business model has been to send out threatening letters to huge numbers of people that they accuse of breaching copyright and the aim of these letters is not to take them to court but to scare them into handing over large sums of money.”

Michael Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, says the legislation could be used may be used to obtain information about you for everything from defamation to consumer disputes.

“Unpack the legalese and you find that organizations will be permitted to disclose personal information without consent (and without a court order) to any organization that is investigating a contractual breach or possible violation of any law,” Geist wrote in his blog. “This applies both past breaches or violations as well as potential future violations. Moreover, the disclosure occurs in secret without the knowledge of the affected person (who therefore cannot challenge the disclosure since they are not aware it is happening).”

Read the complete article on the Vancouver Sun here.

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