#CyberFLASH: ‘Unprecedented’ number of online privacy breaches reported in Alberta

edmonton-alta-may-13-2015-jill-clayton-the-informatioAlberta’s privacy commissioner is seeing an “unprecedented” number of breach reports under the province’s Personal Information Protection Act, including e-commerce hacks, ransomware and phishing scams.

A 15-member committee is in the midst of reviewing the act, which was last updated in 2010, and Wednesday heard suggestions from 10 presenters.

That included provincial privacy commissioner Jill Clayton, who told Postmedia afterwards that while she doesn’t think the act is a broken piece of legislation, she would like to see it tightened in a few areas, including extending it to cover non-profits and requiring organizations to have privacy management programs in place.

Clayton would also like to see the act address transparency reports when private organizations are compelled to disclose information to law enforcement or government agencies, including the number and nature of requests and disclosures, and their legal authority.

She said government agencies and law enforcement are increasingly relying on personal information collected by the private sector but, as the law stands, there’s no way for people to know the number, scale, frequency of or reasons for disclosures without consent.

“I think the public might be surprised at how often private sector businesses are giving up information to police, to law enforcement,” she said.

“The idea of transparency reports is to shine a light on that kind of disclosure.”

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