"Access My Info" is a simple app that lets users request and audit their personal data
TORONTO, May 28, 2015 /CNW/ - Under federal privacy laws, Canadians have a right to access their personal information stored by companies and governments. The process of acting on this right can be burdensome and complex. With funding from the .CA Community Investment Program, Open Effect, a Toronto-based privacy not-for-profit group, is building an application that will support the process of creating requests for this information and help educate Canadians on how they can gain control over their personal data.
- Canadian privacy legislation provides the legal framework for Canadians to access information companies hold about them, for how long, for what purposes, and when they disclose personal information. Having access to these basic details gives Canadians a degree of sovereignty over their personal information and helps ensure citizens can make informed decisions about whether companies and governments are treating their data with respect and integrity.
- The first edition of Access My Info focused on requesting information from telecommunications firms, and this new funding from the .CA Community Investment Program will expand the service into new industries and government departments. The updated application will make it easier for Canadians to file requests for their personal information, thereby gaining access to the details of how their personal information is stored and used. Individuals can then make informed choices about how comfortable they are with a company's privacy practices.
- Access My Info was built by Andrew Hilts, executive director and research lead at Open Effect, and Dr. Christopher Parsons, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab. After working in the start-up world for several years, Hilts became concerned with how companies and governments were treating personal data. Armed with his programming skill set, a research fellowship at the Citizen Lab proved to be a perfect incubator for Open Effect.
"Empowering Canadians to access and learn about their personal data is the foundation for a vibrant culture of accountability and privacy in this country. Information about people is becoming increasingly detailed, frequently updated, and harder to know what might be stored about you. We want to help Canadians make informed decisions about the commercial relationships they maintain and this tool will let them evaluate the privacy practices of Canadian companies."
- Andrew Hilts, executive director and research lead at Open Effect
"A strong Canadian Internet is one based on trust and transparency. Open Effect's work to hold Canadian organizations accountable for how they treat personal information is critical to ensuring that Canadians are comfortable interacting and engaging online. Setting the right balance between convenience and personal privacy is a debate we need to revisit continually, and Open Effect is ensuring we have the information we need to talk seriously about these issues."
- Byron Holland, president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority
- Open Effect was one of 25 projects funded through the .CA Community Investment Program today. For a full listing of the projects, please visit cira.ca/cip.
- More information on Access My Info, including links to the application and details on how to get involved in the project, is available online at openeffect.ca/access-my-info.
About .CA and the Community Investment Program
Through the Community Investment Program, .CA funds projects that demonstrate the capacity to improve the Internet for all Canadians. The .CA team manages Canada's country code top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. A Member-driven organization, .CA represents the interests of Canada's Internet community internationally.
SOURCE Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)
For further information: Ryan Saxby Hill, communications manager for .CA, 613-316-2397, [email protected]