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, December 06, 2005

"Trust is fundamental. Distrust has a devastating impact on profitability." 

At a recent conference in Toronto, reported on by IT Business, Ontario's outspoken Information and Privacy Commissioner, Anne Cavoukian, had some strong words about how companies respond to privacy incidents.

IT Business : EDGE:

With identity theft being the fastest growing form of fraud -- Equifax in Canada reported between 1,400 and 1,800 identity theft-related complaints per month -- companies can no longer say it’s just an external threat that can be remedied by a firewall, for example. The Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian, who also spoke at Tuesday’s event, said businesses need to think of privacy as a business issue rather than an IT-related one. Cavoukian cited several U.S.-based studies that show customers said identity theft-related incidents affected their purchasing decisions.

“If I were a business I would make privacy work for me,” said Cavoukian. “Trust is fundamental. Distrust has a devastating impact on profitability.”

To illustrate her point, Cavoukian mentioned the CIBC faxing fiasco as an example of how not to handle a privacy breach. The U.S. case involved a West Virginia scrapyard owner who had been receiving faxes containing confidential data from CIBC for three years. In April, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ruled the bank was in violation of PIPEDA principles. CIBC responded to the Commissioner’s findings by creating a national database to track privacy issues and establishing a national privacy office, among other initiatives.

“I’m outraged by CIBC’s response to the faxing fiasco,” said Cavoukian, adding the incident will make it into business studies as an example of how not to handle such a situation. “Everything is in your management of a crisis and your immediate reaction.”

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