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.
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.
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.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Privacy risks for 'hundreds and hundreds' of B.C. contracts
Gordon Campbell Liberals outsourcing IT contracts to U.S. companies
Vancouver - The British Columbia government has admitted that "hundreds and hundreds" of provincial contracts will be vulnerable to privacy concerns despite the passage of new controls by the legislature.
The province is in the process of outsourcing B.C. information technology (IT) contracts to American companies. The U.S. firms are subject to the Patriot Act, a sweeping piece of legislation passed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
American courts have already ruled that the Patriot Act takes precedence over any privacy protections enacted by foreign governments.
Critics, led by the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE), are strongly opposed to outsourcing of IT contracts because of this vulnerability.
Meanwhile, Joyce Murray, B.C.'s government services minister, acknowledged this week that the strengthened legislation will only apply to contracts signed after Oct. 12, not to "hundreds and hundreds" of already-existing contracts.
No deadline for compliance
Contracts signed prior to Oct. 12 will be brought into compliance with the new legislation "as soon as possible," Murray told MLAs in the legislature. However, she did not indicate how long this might take.
Diane Wood, the BCGEU's secretary-treasurer, says the revelations by the minister make an even stronger case against outsourcing IT contracts. In effect, U.S. companies awarded IT contracts will have no alternative but to break the law, she says.
“If they comply with the Patriot Act, they break B.C.’s law. If they follow our legislation, they risk prosecution in the United States,” Wood notes.
She also objects to the province forcing the amendments through the legislature before the B.C. Privacy Commissioner files a report on the Patriot Act and its potential impact on B.C. outsourcing contracts.
“The only way to ensure that our personal and confidential information is fully protected, is to keep it in our own government where it belongs,” says Wood. NUPGE"
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