#CyberFLASH: Canadians not terribly savvy about digital privacy, poll finds

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We all delete our internet browser history from time to time, and most of us have, at some point, removed something we’ve posted online.

But encryption? Virtual private networks? Not so much.

A poll conducted by CBC News and the Toronto Star this month found that hardly anyone in Canada said they use more advanced personal security tools.

This means that when it comes to digital security and privacy, Canadians really aren’t too savvy.

“There are so many unauthorized uses of people’s data and data breaches and hacking — it’s just grown exponentially,” said Ann Cavoukian, the former Ontario privacy commissioner and now the executive director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University.

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#CyberFLASH: Canadians want judicial oversight of any new digital snooping powers for police

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Most Canadians feel strongly about their right to privacy online, but a new poll shows the vast majority are willing to grant police new powers to track suspects in the digital realm — so long as the courts oversee the cops.

Nearly half of the respondents to an Abacus Data survey of 2,500 Canadians agreed that citizens should have a right to complete digital privacy. But many appeared to change their mind when asked if an individual suspected of committing a serious crime should have the same right to keep their identity hidden from police.

The vast majority of Canadians … are willing to accept certain conditions … if it means that public safety is put first and their own families or personal safety is protected because police and intelligence agencies have these tools,” Abacus CEO David Coletto said.

“When a judge is involved, when a warrant is needed, we find broad support. It’s only when you take away that judicial oversight that you see a much more divided population.”

The survey, conducted on behalf of CBC News and the Toronto Star, asked Canadians about their views on three specific proposals to expand police powers, which are raised in a federal discussion paper that’s part of a review of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act.​

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