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

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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 ROLE OF A PRIVACY COMMISSIONER AND THE QUALIFICATIONS OF DANIEL THERRIEN: WHAT PARLIAMENT SHOULD BE ASKING

In Privacy Commissioners/DPAs by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

The Prime Minister’s announcement last week that he has recommended Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Daniel Therrien, to be the next Federal Privacy Commissioner should give us cause to reflect on what the Federal Privacy Commissioner actually does and what skill sets are necessary.  I have written about this on a number of occasions.   The job is complex, multi-faceted and …

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IF INDUSTRY AMENDMENTS TO THE DRAFT REGULATION ARE ADOPTED, WOULD THE EUROPEAN UNION STILL HAVE AN “ADEQUATE LEVEL OF DATA PROTECTION”?

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I followed the twists and turns of the passage of the original 1995 EU Data Protection Directive earlier in my career, and wrote about the politics of the process at some length.   By 1995, I was so tired of the process that I almost did not care what was in the Directive – so long that it was an …

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

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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 …

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Federal Political Parties and Privacy Protection

In Parties and Privacy by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

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

In Data Protection by Colin Bennett4 Comments

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 …

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Privacy, Places, and an Introduction

In Social Media by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

“Privacy issues” come and go from the political agenda with extraordinary rapidity. The community of privacy advocates,experts, officials and consultants that make up a large, expanding and international network seems constantly  fixated on the “privacy scandal of the week.”  Whether it’s the latest data breach, the latest iteration of Facebook’s privacy policy, a particularly pernicious bill going through Congress, a new …