The United States Trade Representative has released its latest Report on Foreign Trade Barriers [PDF] which specifically identifies certain Canadian provincial privacy laws as non-tariff trade barriers. It points to the public sector privacy laws in British Columbia and Nova Scotia and singles out Canadian federal government procurement of cloud services: ...
Earlier this week, the Halifax Chronicle Herald published a story about information that has come to light about the extent to which law enforcement agencies are seeking -- and getting -- access to private information without a warrant. (See Ottawa has been spying on you | The Chronicle Herald [link in blog post])
MP Charmaine Borg tabled a question in Parliament looking for particulars about how often government agencies look for and get information about customers of telecommunications services. Perhaps not surprisingly, CSIS and CSE refused to answer. The RCMP refused to provide information, saying it does not track this information. The full document is available here [PDF].
What is most interesting about the document is the extent that the Canadian Border Services Agency, the organization that polices Canada's borders, asked for and received telco customer information without a warrant. It happened over 18,000 times and telcos refused only a handful of times, mainly if they didn't have the information requested.
If I had been asked which government agencies seek warrantless access to customer data, I would have put CBSA pretty low on the list and would think they would represent a drop in the bucket. If that's the case, and the "drop in the bucket" is 18,000 requests, we must be looking at a VERY LARGE bucket.
What's also troubling is that unless charges are laid, nobody ever finds out that their information has been obtained by law enforcement. And, in fact, there's a gag order that would prevent you from getting that information from your telco. I highly doubt that CBSA laid 18,000 charges last year, so there are thousands of Canadians whose information has been accessed and they will never know about it.
Not surprisingly, some of the best analysis of this comes from Chris Parsons, a post-doctoral fellow at the CitizenLab at the University of Toronto. Read his full discussion of this here: Mapping the Canadian Government’s Telecommunications Surveillance https://citizenlab.org/2014/03/mapping-canadian-governments-telecommunications-surveillance/1/.
Last week, Tom was watching a soccer game on a laptop, streamed over the internet and with a click was able to watch it on the flatscreen TV in HD.
It's one of the coolest, geekiest things you can do with $40.
As expected, the government has tabled amendments to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, but this time in the Senate as Senate Government Bill - S-4.
The highlights are breach notification and an exception to the consent rule for business transactions. I'll have more to say once I've given it a thorough going-over. Watch this space.
The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association Magazine (CCCA Magazine) Spring 2014 edition had a strong focus on privacy, "Managing your Privacy Risk: An In-house Guide."
The edition included a version of my Cloud Computing and Privacy FAQ, focused at in-house counsel. For the full article: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_bUaJvZ9k_BRFYtSThWYy15UUU/edit?usp=sharing.
- McInnes CooperPrivacy Lawyer, 2001 - present
- Federal Court of CanadaLaw Clerk, 1999 - 2000
- Patterson Palmer (now McInnes Cooper)Articled Clerk/Summer Student, 1998 - 2000
+1 (902) 444-8535, +1 (650) 937-9471
PO Box 730Halifax, NS B3J 2V1
I am a partner with McInnes Cooper, where I advise clients on all aspects of Canadian privacy laws and assist with technology transactions. I am the author of the Canadian Privacy Law Blog and the Canadian Cloud Law Blog.
I am the former President of the Canadian IT Law Association and former Chair of the National Privacy and Access Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association. In addition to my privacy law practice, I also advise corporate, institutional and individual clients on intellectual property protection and commercialization, technology-related acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, licensing and legal disputes, including all manner of software, Internet and electronic commerce issues.
I'm listed in the inaugural and subsequent editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada in the category of Information Technology law and the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers.
I currently live in Halifax, but I grew up in a Canadian foreign service family, living in exotic locales such as Egypt, Ghana, India, Sri Lanka, Washington DC, Romania and Ottawa.
If I may be so bold, if you want to add me to your circles, I likely belong in ones entitled:
- Privacy types
- Technology fanboys
- Haligonians or maritimers
- Photographer wannabes