The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

"PIPEDA compliant" software 

I am often perplexed by press releases and marketing speak that suggest that a piece of software can make your business "PIPEDA compliant" or "privacy compliant". I just came across the following (names are changed so that I'm not singling anyone out):

"XXXX upgrades e-mail marketing product

E-mail marketing service provider XXXX has released version XXXX of its e-mail marketing product, XXXX. The new release includes an improved spam-checker feature, certified compliance in support of Canada's new privacy law (PIPEDA) and significantly enhanced reporting capabilities."

What the heck does "certified compliance" mean? I looked at the company website and there was no certificate from anyone other than a web-seal of their privacy policy. No suggestion that their product has been certified as PIPEDA A-OK. I'm curious if my shoe can be "certified privacy compliant" since it doesn't collect, use or disclose personal information without written opt-in consent. The part that is particularly confusing in this release is the fact that their e-mail product includes what appear to be intrusive "enhanced reporting capabilities":

"Features of the improved reporting system include visual link tracking report (with colour-coding, marketers can now see where e-mail recipients have clicked in a visual representation of the actual e-mail that was sent) and drill-down reporting (all reports in the XXXX system now link e-mail addresses to a profile of that individual)."

Not only is privacy not a technology problem with a technology solution, it appears that an intrusive product that collects personal information without the individual's knowledge is being dressed up a privacy-friendly. Buyer beware!


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