Privacy Advocates Express Concern About Child Privacy Online



    REGINA, June 4 /CNW Telbec/ - As Canadian youth spend more time online,
they run the risk of losing control of their personal information and,
potentially, facing complications at home, school or work.
    Canada's privacy commissioners and ombudspersons issued a joint
resolution today expressing their commitment to work together to improve the
state of online privacy for children and young people.
    "It's time to stop the commercial exploitation of our children. It's high
time we came to terms with the impact of the Internet on youth and their
lives," says Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, Gary Dickson.
    The resolution was the product of the semi-annual meeting of Canada's
privacy commissioners and ombudsmen from federal, provincial and territorial
jurisdictions across Canada, being held June 4 and 5 in Regina, Saskatchewan.
    During the meeting, the commissioners and ombudspersons heard from a
panel of young people about their online activities and their attitudes
towards, and concerns about, privacy online.
    "Young people are very adept and comfortable with electronic
communication. As advocates, we have to help young Canadians find the
information they need to be their own privacy watchdogs," says Irene Hamilton,
Manitoba Ombudsman.
    Many of Canada's privacy commissioners and ombudsmen have already
proposed tools and learning materials on youth privacy, frequently in
cooperation with provincial ministries of education and local school boards.
    Beginning today, young people will be able to turn to youthprivacy.ca, an
interactive website that offers advice about how youth can protect their
personal information and take charge of how their identity is being shaped
online.
    Youthprivacy.ca also features a blog where young Canadians can discuss
how technology is affecting their privacy.
    "Young Canadians are among the most wired in the world," says the
Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Elizabeth Denham. "They need to
understand that all these new technologies can have a significant impact on
their privacy, and they need to know what they can do to prevent others from
accessing and using this information without permission."
    Ms. Denham also announced that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner is
launching a contest for youth, ages 12 to 18. The "My Privacy and Me" National
Video Competition invites youth to create their own video public service
announcements on the issue of privacy. Detailed information about the contest
is featured on the new web site.
    "The video can be about any aspect of privacy they want to explore-like
the ever-growing presence of security cameras, the popularity of social
networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo or Xanga, or how their favourite
store collects personal information for marketing purposes," says Assistant
Commissioner Denham. "We want to encourage young people to explore the issues
around online privacy and empower them to stand up for their right to
privacy."
    In coming months, Canadians can expect to see more tools and learning
materials designed to help Canadian youth tackle the challenge of managing
their personal information and identity in an increasingly dynamic online
world.




For further information:

For further information: and/or media interview requests, contact: Colin
McKay, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, (613) 947-7226,
cmckay@privcom.gc.ca


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