"In an era of Big Data, Cloud Computing, and the Internet of Things, the
individual's control of personal data is more important than ever"
TORONTO, March 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Challenging a recent view that consent
and personal control of one's information by individuals is a thing of
the past, three leading privacy experts propose that both are indeed
more important than ever. Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's Information and
Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Alexander Dix, Berlin Data Protection and
Freedom of Information Commissioner, and Dr. Khaled El Emam, Canada
Research Chair in Electronic Health Information, discuss their position
in their new white paper: The Unintended Consequences of Privacy Paternalism.
"If the history of privacy has taught us anything, it is that an
individual's loss of control over their personal data leads to greater
privacy abuses, not fewer," said Commissioner Cavoukian. "Inadequate
restraints could lead to more of what we fear most — ubiquitous mass
surveillance, detailed profiling, and the abuse of personal
The genesis of the paper was in direct response to a recent suggestion
that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs), which most privacy laws
are based upon, should be revised to loosen the individual's control
over their personal information. The authors acknowledge that though
the world is changing due to the growth of Big Data and ubiquitous
computing, individuals still have the right to a basic expectation of
how their personal data will be used by companies and governments.
The authors fully agree that accountability should be strengthened, but
disagree with the proposal that critical FIPPs must be weakened -
diminishing the role of the individual. The paper proposes that the
principles of Privacy by Design better reflect current realities by extending the OECD FIPPs, rather
than curtailing them. Specific attention is paid to strong
de-identification tools and techniques, which allow innovative and
socially beneficial secondary uses of personal data, without the need
to obtain additional consent, resulting in positive-sum, win-win
outcomes. When applied from the outset, Privacy by Design extends user controls and enhances accountability, promoting an
innovative, design-aware future.
The Commissioner will officially launch the release of the paper in a
presentation to the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus in
Washington, DC this morning.
About Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner
The Information and Privacy Commissioner is appointed by and reports to
the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and is independent of the government
of the day. The Commissioner's mandate includes overseeing the access
and privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the Personal Health Information Protection Act, which applies to both public and private sector health information
custodians. A vital component of the Commissioner's mandate is to help
educate the public about access and privacy issues.
SOURCE: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
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