So maybe ‘Big Data’ doesn’t work in elections? Maybe it’s time to stop using it?

It is tempting to conclude that what happened in the presidential election last Tuesday was not only a repudiation of the ‘Washington establishment’ and the mainstream media, but also of the use of “Big Data” in elections.   Perhaps people are sick of being considered ‘data points’ in an endless struggle to manipulate their political attitudes and behavior. Among other things, …

IS CANADA STILL ‘ADEQUATE’ UNDER THE NEW EUROPEAN GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION?

In December 2001, Canada achieved adequacy status under the 1995 Data Protection Directive for transfers from the EU to Canada of personal information subject to the jurisdiction of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Since that time, Canadian businesses could rely on this determination, and thus avoid other methods to guarantee legal transfers such as model contracts …

So Who is Actually “Shielded” by the Privacy Shield?

I have just co-authored a study with Priscilla Regan and Robin Bayley on the effectiveness of privacy redress mechanisms in Canada and the United States. In our view, too much comparative privacy research is based on the abstract comparison of the ‘black letter of the law.’ So we decided to examine some real cases involving real individuals who have suffered real …

BILL C-51 AND NO FLY-LISTS: STILL TOO DANGEROUS TO FLY YET TOO INNOCENT TO ARREST

Part Two of the Government’s Anti-Terrorism legislation (C-51) comprises the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA), which formalizes the rules for the operation of Canada’s no-fly list (or the Specified Persons List).  It has not yet received much analysis in comparison with the more controversial  provisions on the new powers for CSIS, and the expansion of the information-sharing provisions, both superbly covered in …

View Post

HOSPITALS WITHOUT PATIENTS, AND DATA PROTECTION WITHOUT DATA SUBJECTS: MY ADDRESS TO CPDP2015

One of my favorite episodes of the BBC Series, Yes Minister, is called “The Compassionate Society.”   The story revolves around a hospital in north London that has 500 administrative staff, but no medical personnel and no patients.   When Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary, is confronted by Minister Jim Hacker about this perplexing state of affairs, he defends the situation …

THE GEO-POLITICS OF PERSONAL DATA AND THE NEW EU DATA PROTECTION REGULATION

We understand that the EU Parliament’s review of the Regulation is on schedule to be completed by mid-2013. I have written  an article for the Harvard International Review –– a more historical treatment that tries to set the current debates in some context.   The same issue has an article from Vivien Redding.   The basic message is that we have heard before from …

View Post

Federal Political Parties and Privacy Protection

The recent controversies over potential vote suppression in key ridings through the practice of “robocalling” have shed light upon some of the previously opaque internal practices of political parties.  The commentary on these controversies has been extensive, and demonstrates a high level of public interest and engagement in the broader issues about Canadian democracy.  Not far beneath the surface, however, …

Big Data and Small Agencies: Reflections on the 33rd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners

I first attended the annual meeting of the International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in 1987 in Quebec City.  In those years, the global community of commissioners amounted to about 30 delegates from around 10 countries.   No corporate representatives were invited, although there were a handful of academic and journalistic observers.  David Flaherty gave the keynote, drawn from his forthcoming …