Companies and individuals share responsibility for safeguarding personal
information: Privacy Commissioner

On Data Privacy Day 2010 Privacy Commissioner of Canada urges companies and individuals alike to take proper steps to safeguard personal information online.

OTTAWA, Jan. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, on Data Privacy Day 2010, Canada's Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, is urging companies to ensure they have the proper systems in place to safeguard information; and reminding individuals to think twice about what they post on the Internet.

"Companies today have to take steps to secure their customers' personal information like never before. In the past, businesses had to ensure that their customers' name and address information, and in some cases credit card and billing information, was protected. Today, an increasing number of companies are providing technology and tools for their customers to provide increasing amounts of personal information online," says Ms. Stoddart. "These companies have to put systems in place to safeguard this information, while giving consumers the tools and options to control how their information is used."

"In an age where toys and handheld tools often come with the ability to go online - even traditional stuffed animals now come with codes that allow kids to register online and play with other kids - individuals also need to understand how to enjoy these tools without putting their personal information at risk," says Ms. Stoddart.

As Canada's privacy guardian, Ms. Stoddart's office promotes awareness of privacy risks and makes it easier for people to make informed decisions about the technologies they are using. The Office has made youth privacy a key priority, using contests, communications materials and a dedicated youth privacy web site to reach out to young Canadians and to encourage them to "Think Before You Click". To mark Data Privacy Day 2010, the Office has posted some new resources to the Parents & Teachers section of the youth web site. Parents and teachers can use these to generate discussion about personal privacy and the importance of thinking about what you post on the Internet.

"Online services and applications can create wonderful opportunities for creativity, networking and social engagement," says Ms. Stoddart. "We want to ensure that all Canadians have the information they need to make more privacy-conscious decisions so they can enjoy all the new tools and gadgets that are being offered without putting themselves or their privacy at risk."

Data Privacy Day, organized by non-profit think tank The Privacy Projects, is an "international celebration of the dignity of the individual expressed through personal information". For more information, visit http://dataprivacyday2010.org/.

For more information on protecting personal privacy visit www.priv.gc.ca and www.youthprivacy.ca.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy and the protection of personal information rights of Canadians.

SOURCE Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

For further information: For further information: Colin McKay, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Tel: (613) 947-7226, E-mail: cmkay@privcom.gc.ca


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