OTTAWA, May 6, 2013 /CNW/ - A group of 19 privacy enforcement
authorities from around the globe - including the Office of the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada - are participating in the first annual
international Internet Privacy Sweep.
The Sweep is an initiative of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, which connects privacy enforcement authorities to promote and support
cooperation in cross-border enforcement of laws protecting privacy.
"Privacy issues have become global and they require a global response,"
says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart. "It is critical
that privacy enforcement authorities work together to help protect the
privacy rights of people around the world."
The first Internet Privacy Sweep, which runs from May 6-12, 2013,
includes authorities from: Australia, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France,
Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Macao, Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway,
United Kingdom and the United States. In Canada, the Office of the
Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia is also
During the week, participating authorities will dedicate individuals
within their organization to search the Internet in a coordinated
effort to assess privacy issues related to a common theme.
The theme selected for the first Sweep is Privacy Practice Transparency.
"Transparency is one of the privacy basics; organizations need to be
open and clear with people about how they collect, use and disclose
personal information," says Commissioner Stoddart, whose Office is
acting as international Sweep coordinator for this inaugural year.
"Improving transparency is especially important in the online world,
where researchers have estimated it can take people up to 250 hours to read all of the
privacy policies they encounter in a year. Long, legalistic privacy
policies can be almost impossible to understand and navigate, therefore
making it extremely difficult for individuals to make meaningful and
informed decisions about protecting their privacy."
Some of the issues that Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
will consider when it examines a few hundred websites as part of the
Internet Privacy Sweep include:
How difficult is it to find information about the site's privacy
Is contact information for addressing privacy questions and concerns
How readable is the information about privacy practices?
The goals of the initiative include: increasing public and business
awareness of privacy rights and responsibilities; encouraging
compliance with privacy legislation; identifying concerns which may
result in follow up actions such as targeted education and/or
enforcement; and enhancing cooperation amongst privacy enforcement
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as
an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner
enforces two federal laws for the protection of personal information:
the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which applies to commercial activities in the Atlantic
provinces, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Territories. Quebec,
Alberta and British Columbia each has its own law covering the private
sector. Even in these provinces, PIPEDA continues to apply to the
federally regulated private sector and to personal information in
interprovincial and international transactions.
See also: Global Privacy Enforcement Network Internet Privacy Sweep - Questions and Answers.
SOURCE: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
For further information:
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
NOTE: Journalists are asked to please send requests for interviews or further information via e-mail.