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, October 11, 2004

Article: Who's trustworthy? Canadians, Americans disagree 

Articles about consumer privacy are appearing in the traditional Canadian media, spurred it seems by recent debate over the potential impact of the USA Patriot Act on Canadian privacy. The Toronto Star has an article in today's edition that discusses two consumer privacy issues: (a) what companies do Canadians and Americans trust with their personal information and (b) what impact could the USA Patriot Act have on our privacy.

The article is a good survey of consumer privacy concerns and also brings to light some instances of reams of Canadian data being processed by American companies. - Who's trustworthy? Canadians, Americans disagree:

"Prospect of U.S. Patriot Act-snooping bothers Canadians


...That means some Canadian consumer information — everything from bank and insurance records to medical data — could be under surveillance by U.S. authorities without our knowledge.

"I think it's a real issue," says Ponemon. "If a company that's in the U.S. has your e-mail and you happen to be a Canadian citizen, by default the e-mail may be viewed and selected for deeper analysis and investigation by U.S. law enforcement."

Think it's a stretch?

Consider that Rogers Cable has a close partnership with U.S. Internet giant Yahoo Inc., which now manages all e-mail for Rogers' high-speed Internet customers. Consider that Bell Canada has a similar relationship with Microsoft's MSN portal.

...Outsourcing is the culprit. Both the CIBC and Royal Bank of Canada have their credit card operations managed by Total Systems Services Inc., which is based out of Georgia and is under the jurisdiction of the Patriot Act.

Consider that Royal Bank was ranked third in Ponemon's survey [of most trusted companies].

If the issue of outsourcing brews into an even larger privacy concern for Canadians, it's conceivable that Royal could fall off the list while those banks that don't outsource to the United States rise to the top.

The implications of data outsourcing aren't something to ignore. All companies need to consider them if they wish to remain trustworthy in the eyes of Canadian consumers."

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