Earlier today, Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, presented her office’s annual report on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) for 2012. Last month, she was making her case for reforming and strengthening the Act to better protect Canadians’ privacy in the digital age.
All of these activities will not surprise anyone.
What is less well known is that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner also funds a whole series of research initiatives. Recently, it published a compendium of results from many of these projects:
From tapping our smart phones to transfer funds, to swiping an access card to gain entry to our office, technology is seamlessly and ubiquitously woven into our everyday tasks.
And for these technological advances to make our lives a little easier, they create and have access to large amounts of data about ourselves – our contacts, our habits, our likes and dislikes.
How is our information being used to guide decisions about ourselves and the world around us? Do we know how to better protect our privacy in the modern world? What impact does technology have on our privacy?
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Contributions Program funds independent cutting-edge privacy research and outreach projects aimed at generating new ideas, approaches and information about privacy in Canada. These projects not only advance the collective knowledge on issues related to privacy and surveillance; they provide real, tangible research results that Canadians can use to make smart decisions about privacy in their own lives.
The projects highlighted here represent a sample of the innovative and socially relevant independent research the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has supported through its Contributions Program since 2004.
The projects cover topics such as identity theft, parents snooping on their kids’ online activities, advice to teens on how to frame their digital portrait, the protection of digital health records, and the protection of genetic information.