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.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

UK Information Commissioner calls for international harmonization 

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner of the UK is calling for international privacy standards, particularly focusing on the ongoing squabbles between Europe and the United States. (See: UK official calls for international privacy standards.).

I agree that harmonization should be a goal, but I am concerned that this may lead to a "lowest common denominator" system which would reduce the protection that some jurisdictions afford to their citizens' privacy. The following quote suggests this may be the outcome:

"There could be 'scope for less bureaucracy, less emphasis on prior authorization and a more concrete focus on preventing real harm', he said."

"Privacy" is not just about preventing fraud and indentity theft. Most modern privacy regimes are about giving people choices about how (and whether) their information is collected, used and disclosed. Reducing emphasis on "prior authorization" would likely undermine this.

Canada's PIPEDA, for all its faults, has shown that you can have a comprehensive privacy law that is based on consent and still permits legitimate business use of personal information.

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3/10/2007 07:14:00 PM  :: (1 comments)  ::  Backlinks
Sitting in the UK I agree with your thoughts here. In Marketing by Permission I've published some additional thoughts.

To me the idea of congruent global laws is a pipe dream. We can't even harmonise a single set of laws in the EC member states for the same directive! How can we possibly call for it globally?
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