TORONTO, May 27 /CNW/ - Dr. Ann Cavoukian was reappointed today by the
Ontario Legislature for an unprecedented third term as the province's
Information and Privacy Commissioner.
"I would like to sincerely thank members of the Legislature for their
strong support," said the Commissioner. "I feel very honoured to serve as
Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner."
"Five years ago, when I was reappointed to my second term, I said we were
in the midst of profound change in the areas of privacy protection and access
to government information. But now the pace has grown even faster. Technology
- which has resulted in many challenges - can also be tapped for innovative
solutions, particularly on the privacy front. I will continue to emphasize the
need to embed privacy directly into IT, at the earliest developmental stage. I
look forward to the challenge - I have so many new ideas that I wish to
The Commissioner will be focusing on Privacy by Design, a concept she
first developed in the 90s, when she began her campaign to enlist the support
of technology to protect privacy, rather than encroach upon it.
What does Privacy by Design mean? It means being proactive. It means
that, ideally, privacy protection comes before consideration of policy or
regulatory measures. The latter, by their nature, tend to be reactive, coming
after-the-fact, in most cases. "We need to build-in the solutions up front,
not after-the-fact, when privacy breaches occur," said the Commissioner.
The Commissioner has consistently argued that privacy is part of the
essential foundation upon which free and democratic societies are built. The
right to control the collection, use and disclosure of information about
ourselves is the right upon which our other freedoms rest. We must remember
the bigger picture involving freedom and liberty. We can never take privacy
for granted - Privacy by Design will ensure that privacy will not be an
after-thought, or something to consider only if convenient.
In addition, said the Commissioner, "I will be working with all
stakeholders in the health care field to help bring about effective and
privacy-protective electronic health record systems." Electronic systems of
personal health information offer many benefits to both practitioners and
patients - including improved clinical decision-making, leading to more
effective diagnosis and treatment - but the potential risks to privacy must be
minimized during the design and implementation of these systems.
Promoting transparency and accountability will also form a key part of
her new term. "I will be strongly urging both provincial and local governments
to be very proactive in developing automatic disclosure programs under which
general records - ranging from council agendas to expense accounts - are
routinely posted to government websites," said the 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, in addition to educating the
public about access and privacy issues.
For further information:
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