The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa has just released a study into the privacy implications of digital rights management technologies (DRM) currently used in the Canadian marketplace:
“Our assessment of the compliance of these DRM applications with PIPEDA [Personal Information Protection and
Electronic Documents Act] led to a number of general findings:
- Fundamental privacy-based criticisms of DRM are well-founded: we observed tracking of usage habits, surfing habits, and technical data.
- Privacy invasive behaviour emerged in surprising places. For example, we observed e-book software profiling individuals. We unexpectedly encountered DoubleClick – an online marketing firm – in a library digital audio book.
- Many organizations take the position that IP addresses do not constitute ‘personal information’ under PIPEDA and therefore can be collected, used and disclosed at will. This interpretation is contrary to Privacy Commissioner findings. IP addresses are collected by a variety of DRM tools, including tracking technologies such as cookies and pixel tags (also known as web bugs, clear gifs, and web beacons).
- Companies using DRM to deliver content often do not adequately document in their privacy policies the DRM-related collection, use and disclosure of personal information. This is particularly so where the DRM originates with a third party supplier.
- Companies using DRM often fail to comply with basic requirements of PIPEDA.”
An Executive Summary is available.