Unpacking the “Micro” in Political Micro-Targeting

In Parties and Privacy by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

I have often been troubled by the lack of a clear definition of political micro-targeting. There is a lot of discussion of the macro effects of micro-targeting, and of the larger impact of data-driven elections. It arguably serves to fragment political discourse, to accentuate “wedge issues”, to promote “filter bubbles” and leads to a transactional politics where localized claims and …

MORE TRADITIONAL METHODS OF SURVEILLANCE MIGHT BE MORE VALUABLE FOR CONTACT-TRACING THAN SMARTPHONE APPS – AND PERHAPS MORE INTRUSIVE

In Surveillance by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

There has been a vigorous global debate about the use of smartphone contact-tracing apps as valuable tools to monitor and curtail the spread of COVID-19.  We should not forget, however, that there are many other ways to track location through the analysis of the routine records that organizations capture about our behavior and transactions.     Proponents see smart-phone apps as valuable tools …

STRONGER PRIVACY ENFORCEMENT POWERS FOR CANADA’S PRIVACY COMMISSIONER AND A POSSIBLE RULE FOR CANADA’S COMPETITION BUREAU?

In Privacy Commissioners/DPAs by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is essentially an Ombudsman.   The Commissioner investigates complaints, and makes recommendations.  He has no order-making powers to enforce his orders; he has to make an application to Federal Court.   And he has very limited powers to levy fines.   There is now a prevailing view that the simple ombudsman powers of the Privacy Commissioner are …

Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, AIQ and the Data-Driven Election: Statement to House of Commons Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (April 26, 2018)

In Parties and Privacy by Colin Bennett1 Comment

The current controversy concerning Cambridge Analytica, Aggregate IQ and Facebook has raised to public and media attention a number of interrelated issues, that need to be carefully distinguished: The monopoly power of companies like Facebook in the “platform economy” and their dependence on personal data for their business models The non-consensual harvesting of information on one’s wider social network through …

HOW TO AVOID PRIVACY COMPLAINTS ESCALATING TO THE PRIVACY COMMISSIONER: BE TRANSPARENT, RECEPTIVE, DILIGENT, POLITE AND TRUTHFUL

In Canadian Privacy by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

GUEST POST  BY ROBIN M. BAYLEY, LINDEN CONSULTING INC.  (VICTORIA BC).  (A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRIVACY LAWS AND BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL REPORT, APRIL 2017).    Companies subject to privacy legislation can do much to prevent a privacy complaint from a customer from becoming a complaint to  a privacy commissioner.  They can be summarized as: be transparent, receptive, diligent, polite …

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

In Parties and Privacy by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

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 Data Protection by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

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?

In Data Protection by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

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

In Surveillance by Colin Bennett1 Comment

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 …

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

In Data Protection by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

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 …