Canadian Politician’s Finally Push for Privacy Laws… But for Themselves

New privacy rules are finally on the way. Canadians who have waited over 5 years for such reforms, however, will be disappointed.

When the European GDPR laws came into force, it was the clearest sign yet that Canada needed its own variation of privacy reform. Such laws are obviously needed because Canada’s privacy laws, as they stand now, involve various Privacy Commissioners sending strongly worded letters, a warning of “don’t do that again”, a pat on the head and sending the privacy violating parties on their way. This while leaving Canadians to fend for themselves and file their own lawsuits if they have the financial resources to fight the company in court afterwards. In an era of Facebook and Clearview AI style facial recognition companies, this is extremely inadequate.

So, Canadian’s have been forced to wait… and wait… and wait some more. In all that waiting, successive half hearted efforts at reforming privacy laws have died on the orderpaper. In 2021, the Innovation Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, claimed that privacy reform was his “top priority“. Two years later and Canadians are still waiting. When the TikTok moral panic fever hit Canadian airwaves, Canada’s current privacy reform bill, Bill C-27, finally stopped being stalled and started moving through the regulatory process at a snails pace. The slow pace makes it questionable if it’ll ever become law before the next election.

Now, we are learning some, on the surface, good news. That news is that Canadian politician’s are now pushing for privacy reforms. Even better is that such laws have a very good chance at becoming law – and soon no less! Great news, right? Well, there is a huge catch to this. The privacy rules being pushed for are rules designed to serve the interests of political figures and the entities serving them. Buried in the Budget Bill, Bill C-47, we see the following:

Definition of personal information

385.‍2 (1) Despite the definition personal information in subsection 2(1), for the purposes of this section, personal information means information about an identifiable individual.

Collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal

(2) In order to participate in public affairs by endorsing one or more of its members as candidates and supporting their election, any registered party or eligible party, as well as any person or organization acting on the party’s behalf, including the party’s candidates, electoral district associations, officers, agents, employees, volunteers and representatives, may, subject to this Act and any other applicable federal Act, collect, use, disclose, retain and dispose of personal information in accordance with the party’s privacy policy.

For years, Canadian political parties know the value of collecting and using people’s personal information for micro targeting and other purposes. It’s a very profitable gravy train that the parties sure don’t want to see stopping any time soon. In the ultimate slap to the face of Canadian’s, it’s all at the expense of Canadian’s who would rather increase their right to privacy. This over top of the politician’s ensuring that their interests are put ahead of Canadian citizens. Privacy laws that work for Canadian’s? That can wait. Privacy laws that work for the political parties? That has to get taken care of right away.

At any rate, if you ever wanted to know what it takes to get politician’s to finally give a rats *** about privacy laws, well, I guess Canadians finally have an answer – and the answer triggers maximum cynicism. In the midst of all of this, Canadian’s have no option but to keep waiting for their turn for basic legal protections.

(Tip found via @Mgeist, though linked source is paywalled, so we retrieved the above information ourselves using our own resources.)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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