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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Spy Under the Hood 

Thane Peterson at Business Week has a well-researched article on the privacy issues of "black boxes" that record various parameters about the cars in which they are installed. The article reviews the technology and how various states have responded with legislation. He also interviewed me for for story, asking about Canadian laws and my general views:

The Spy Under the Hood:

"... WHERE WILL IT STOP? What most worries privacy experts is the potential for abuse of black boxes as technology evolves. 'Once your start collecting information, there's always an impulse to collect more and more,' says David Fraser, head of the privacy practice at the law firm of McInnes Cooper in Canada, where privacy laws are stricter than in the U.S.

For instance, auto black boxes could easily be made far more elaborate by tying them into, say, in-car navigation or cell-phone systems. Indeed, long-haul trucking companies now routinely use sophisticated black boxes to monitor their drivers' driving habits in great detail.

Some insurance companies have run experiments in which they offer rate reductions to customers who agree to have their driving habits monitored by advanced black boxes -- leading to concerns the companies could structure rates to punish customers who don't agree to let their cars be monitored. California and New York have already passed laws prohibiting insurance companies from using black boxes in that way.

LEGAL 'HODGEPODGE.' Companies say they have no intention of making the boxes much more elaborate. 'We're sensitive to privacy concerns,' Snyder says, adding that 'it might lead to a huge reaction from privacy advocates and the general public.'

But Jeffress predicts that before long, the federal government will have to step in with a national data privacy law governing auto black boxes and other similar data-collection devices. 'Otherwise, we're just going to have a hodgepodge of state rules,' he says. And that won't serve the interests of either business or the public."


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