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.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Article: Outsourced UCSF notes highlight privacy risk / How one offshore worker sent tremor through medical system 

The heated debate over outsourcing in the United States has included some serious dicussion of privacy issues related to the practice of sending personal information overseas. The San Francisco Chronicle has published a series of articles on outsourcing, which includes one that focuses on this issue in particular.

SPECIAL REPORT / Looking Offshore / Outsourced UCSF notes highlight privacy risk / How one offshore worker sent tremor through medical system: "American jobs have been moving offshore for years, primarily manufacturing work seeking out lower-paid workers abroad. The outsourcing of people's personal information, though, is a relatively new phenomenon -- opening the door to identity theft, fraud and other criminal activities.

'We've reached the point where American companies ship personal information outside the country and tell customers to check their privacy at the shore,' said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., one of the leading privacy advocates on Capitol Hill.

Lubna Baloch's run-in with UCSF demonstrates that the safety of outsourced information can never be guaranteed -- no matter how stringent the safeguards -- and offers the most glaring example to date of how a disgruntled overseas worker can violate the privacy rights of U.S. citizens. "

Concerns related to the confidentiality of personal information in outsourcing are, in my view, likely to be among the most compelling arguments in this debate. Most other concerns relate to job losses, but this issue is one of the only ones that speaks to the protection of consumers. Legislators in the US should consider the alternative of "nearshore" outsourcing to Canada, which has been a growth industry for the Atlantic Provinces in Canada. (See, for example, Keane's great growth in Nova Scotia and EDS's expansion in Nova Scotia.) Companies can take advantage of much lower costs, highly-skilled employees and enforceable privacy laws that are actually stronger than those in the United States.

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