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Privacy Commissioner calls for modernized privacy law

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has issued a statement calling on the federal goverment to enact stronger privacy laws. In a letter to Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien stated his concern that privacy issues are being given insufficient consideration compared to the use of digitally-collected personal data. Therrien stated the law should continue to be principles-based and technologically neutral. He also called for a rights-based approach rather than an industry code of conduct that might be subject to misinterpretation. Therrien also suggested a modernized law that would empower the Privacy Commissioner or another public body to issue binding rules regarding privacy protection in practice, making the commissioner a regulator rather than an ombudsman.

"I am growing increasingly troubled that longstanding privacy rights and values in Canada are not being given equal importance within a new digital ecosystem eagerly focused on embracing and leveraging data for various purposes," said Therrien "Individual privacy is not a right we simply trade away for innovation, efficiency or commercial gain. Canada should simultaneously pursue privacy and innovation, and privacy by design is an excellent way to achieve both. To build confidence in the digital economy, Canadians cannot be left to fend for themselves, and they cannot rely exclusively on organizations to manage their information responsibly. An independent regulator with sufficient powers to protect Canadians in a complex environment is required."

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