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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Apple changes its (i)Tune and asks if it can communicate back to the mothership 

After last week's fuss about iTunes reporting back to Apple about users music libraries (see: The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Is iTunes reporting your listening back to the mothership?), Apple is now doing what it should have done in the first place. It is telling users what it wants to do and is asking for their OK. Check out Boing Boing: Apple changes iTunes, now obtains consent before collecting info.

Businesses that want to collect information about their users and those who want to provide features that require information from their users must be transparent about what they are doing and why. This reminds me of the expression that "it is not the crime, but the coverup." Consumers want to trust the companies they deal with. They expect to know what's going on. If they don't, consumers assume the worst and the suspicion snowballs. Consumers fall into three groups: those who don't care about privacy, those who care about privacy but will trade personal information for value or convenience, and those who are borderline paranoid. Other than the tinfoil hat, they are hard to tell apart but the middle group is the majority. If a company is transparent, accountable and appears to be honest, the first two groups will trust it with personal information. The latter group will never be happy, but if you are transparent they will just not use your product. If you aren't, they will be very loud with their suspicions. Even a company as trusted as Apple can have the paranoid descend on them and the middle-of-the-road types voice suspicions.

Moral of the day: be open and transparent from the beginning and you'll have many more satisfied customers.

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