Last year Canadians witnessed too many data breaches of their data and the federal government is reacting. Large Canadian corporations didn’t do enough to protect their databases against attackers and as a result personal data of Canadians is now in the hands of criminals. Canada will now follow the lead of Europe and other jurisdictions by holding corporations financially responsible for any future breaches. This should help force companies to respect their customers.
“It will be significant and meaningful to make it very clear that privacy is important. Compensation, of course, is one aspect of it,” said Bains, adding that the government also wants “to demonstrate to businesses very clearly that there are going to be significant penalties for non-compliance with the law. That’s really my primary goal.”
Statistics Canada says that about 57 per cent of Canadians online reported experiencing a cyber security incident in 2018.
Ryan Berger, a privacy lawyer with Lawson Lundell in Vancouver, said legislating compensation could get private companies to start taking privacy more seriously.
“It will incentivize organizations … to take steps to protect that information and ensure that, for instance, health information is encrypted,” he said.
“So right now, there aren’t the sorts of financial implications for them if they fail to do that.”
Surveillance capitalism is a truly 21st century innovation which is having a major impact on society. Policies around data protection and privacy aren’t strong enough yet and trade deals don’t rightly aim to protect data privacy either. How our data is used and exploited isn’t up to us and it should be. Large corporations know more about you than you might realize and exploit that knowledge for their own gain- it doesn’t have to be that way.
How to resist collection of your behavioral data?
Solutions for consumers
Educating consumers and helping them make radical choices to influence the systems designed to harvest their data is one of the two important ways that can help us fight this crisis. We know that consumers stated privacy preferences are not reflected by the actions and choices they make, failing to act on recommendations they know would likely benefit them — this is commonly referred to as privacy paradox. I strongly believe this is something we can change together and that process starts with you and me. With the risk of being called a naive idealist, I believe we can lead by example in getting through the pains of giving up some of the convenience and ruthless pursuit of growth, ultimately affecting the course of history that is otherwise headed towards more surveillance, concentration of knowledge and power, and unethical exploitation of the human experience.
Privacy means having the agency to choose what you share, when you share it and who you share it with. The following recommendations can guide you, as an individual towards taking back that control and helping others do the same.
Oli Frost got inspired by companies earning profit from his data and decided to sell it directly to anybody who wants it. He’s downloaded all his data from Facebook (and you can too) and put it up on eBay for anyone to buy. Proceeds from the sale of his Facebook data will go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Frost also created some other really neat online projects like lifefaker, a tool for Instagram, and Flopstarter, a platform for terrible ideas.
Every like, post, and inane comment since I was 16.
Photos dating back to when I had a fringe and listened to Billy Talent.
Videos dating back to when my band played gigs at kids play centres.
A list of things I’m apparently interested in, including ‘Gluten-free diet’, ‘Jessie Ware’ and ‘Project management software’.
Stats on how many happy birthdays I got, year by year.
All my friend requests that got ignored.
Every party invite I’ve ever had (all three of them).
Loads more, like who I vote for, my boss’s name, and where all my family live.
Iceland continues on it’s quest to be the ‘Switzerland of data‘ and is extending its program to do so for journalists. Part of the country’s plan to become a haven for people exposing the immoral and questionable behaviour of powerful people is already in action. Iceland is quickly achieving its goal of not only protecting data but also protecting people who analyze and process that data.
The motivation for Iceland to lead this charge comes out of a first-hand knowledge of how devastating a lack of transparency can be. Iceland’s financial crash of 2008 was catastrophic to the country, and few had answers until Wikileaks began publishing documents the local reporters were legally blocked from airing. The general public, justifiably feeling robbed, saw Wikileaks as the purveyor of important knowledge that they were being denied.
While there is much to do, IMMI has not been without successes. In 2013, IMMI helped pass the Information Act, which helped broaden the public’s access to information as well as source protection, thus nudging some of IMMI’s core goals forward. A few days after our meeting, IMMI joined with other organizations to repeal Iceland’s 75-year-old blasphemy law, making blasphemy no longer an illegal act in the country.
Iceland is the de facto home of Wikileaks and is also a country concerned with privacy issues. The country is now considering leveraging their experience and reputation of being digital-data friendly to the next level. Presently, the country is considering branding itself as the “Switzerland of Data.”
If Iceland does move ahead with this, it means that the country will become one of the most important players in the 21st century similar to how Switzerland was with banks in the 20th.
The International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), a non-profit organisation, has played an instrumental role in designing and promoting the legal framework for Iceland’s new data privacy laws.
Following the country’s 2010 financial crisis, mass protests broke out against the nepotism, corruption and lack of transparency exposed by the collapse. A group of Icelandic activists began working on an initiative to create the world’s strongest media and free speech protection laws, as well as a state-of-the-art privacy law.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir is IMMI’s spokeswoman and now represents the Pirate Party in the Icelandic parliament. She met Al Jazeera at her office in Reykjavik and explained that one of IMMI’s goals is “to allow people working on human rights or investigative journalists, as well as people who want to host data on a massive scale, to be free from worrying about privacy issues”.
She added: “Iceland should become for information what Switzerland is for money.”