#CyberFLASH: Canada’s privacy law ‘ill-suited’ to 21st century, watchdog warns Trudeau

1297658073661_ORIGINALOTTAWA—Canada’s privacy watchdog has warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that federal privacy protections are “ill-suited” for the 21st century.

In a letter obtained by the Star, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien told Trudeau the rules around government’s handling of private information has not kept up with technological advances or society’s expectations.

The Privacy Act, which governs how the federal government uses Canadians’ personal information, has not been substantially changed since it was introduced in 1983.

When the law was introduced, most government business was conducted on paper. Now, government departments and agencies increasingly hold vast sums of information electronically — bringing a new set of issues, challenges, and vulnerabilities.

“One of the biggest changes in the privacy realm is technology, Canadians’ relationship to it, and the desires by government and industry to harness its power for various purposes,” Therrien wrote in a Nov. 10 letter, obtained under access to information law.

“In this complex, new environment, modernization of our privacy framework and the pressing need for greater transparency around how technology is used is critical to maintaining citizens’ trust in government and the digital economy.”

The Star requested an interview with Therrien but he was unavailable.

This isn’t the first time the issue has been raised with Parliamentarians. In a March 22 letter to the House of Commons committee on privacy issues, Therrien provided 16 recommendations to modernize the Privacy Act — and warned that the legislation is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

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#CyberFLASH: Will technology help revive Canada’s health care?

phillips-IoT-connected-hospital-620x250Health care is an area where the Internet of Things (IoT) can provide innovative solutions for everlasting problems. I recently attended Technicity 2015 where the role of IoT was highlighted as solving old problems and transforming cities into smart ones.

Deloitte published a report which discussed the Canadian health care challenges that are partially a result of applying old approaches in ever-changing new context. The report featured several possible disruptive approaches in technology such as rapid development in information technology. In particular, the report examined how workflow tools and big data analytics will be driving the change in the health care service model.

Similarly to Deloitte’s report, a study prepared by the Conference Board of Canada stated that Canada is lagging behind when it comes to using technology in the health care sector, with a common example being the use of slips of paper and fax machines.

The Canadian health care system is facing significant challenges that are continually evolving over time. The existing system struggles to meet the changing demands with issues such as an aging population, chronic diseases, high costs, workforce shortages, infrastructure limitations, patient locations, and disruptive technologies. These factors are expected to continue in the future as Canadians call for measures to shorten wait-times, improve patient management, protect privacy and modernize the delivery of health services.

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#CyberFLASH: Cybercrime: an overview of incidents and issues in Canada

 n-ONLINE-SPYING-CANADA-large570Cybercrime: an overview of incidents and issues in Canada is the RCMP’s first report on cybercrime, and focuses on aspects of the cybercrime environment that affect Canada’s public organizations, businesses and citizens in real and harmful ways.

This report covers a broad range of criminal offences where the Internet and information technologies are used to carry out illegal activities. It describes select crimes in Canada’s digital landscape to show the rising technical complexity, sophistication and expansion of cybercrime. While difficult to measure, these crimes show no sign of slowing in Canada.

The RCMP breaks cybercrime into two categories:

technology-as-target – criminal offences targeting computers and other information technologies, such as those involving the unauthorized use of computers or mischief in relation to data, and;
technology-as-instrument – criminal offences where the Internet and information technologies are instrumental in the commission of a crime, such as those involving fraud, identity theft, intellectual property infringements, money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, organized crime activities, child sexual exploitation or cyber bullying.

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#CyberFLASH: LEGER: Pull back veil on national security


The mere mention of the term “royal commission” is enough to trigger eye-rolling cynicism in many Canadians, even the public-spirited. It conjures an image of paper gathering dust in archives across the country.

Maybe it’s the word “royal” in the phrase that connotes irrelevance or a certain lack of rigour. Perhaps it’s because commissions take so long to do their work and produce so few concrete results. Royal commissions have an image problem.

They are usually set up because some public problem has flummoxed the sitting government. Not know what else to do, governments often use them to park unsettling issues out of the glare of day-to-day politics.

When commissions do report, prime ministers have the option of ignoring inconvenient conclusions. In fact, many such panels are established precisely so they can be ignored by the government of the day.

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#CyberFLASH: Embracing technology safely

Quebec hacker

If children are sexually exploited on the Internet by an online predator, the last thing parents should do is blame them, says an educator with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Instead, they should embrace the technology and ask their children what they are doing in order to try to protect them from the dangers that lurk inside a public place where there are no boundaries and where no door is completely locked, Noni Classen said in a recent interview.

“Children don’t have the experience, or brain development, to reflect on the potential implications or intentions of the other person luring them on the Internet,” she said.

“They are only looking at it from their own egocentric lens of, ‘What is going to happen to me?’ At that age their brains are wired for social interaction and bonding, and their need for acceptance and belonging is going to drive their needs,” said Classen.

The director of education for the centre told The Telegram, as part of a three-part series on Internet luring, once children are engaged by a sexual predator, some don’t know how to release the grip and they become manipulated.

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#CyberFLASH: Ottawa firm to help federal government guard its secret emails


OTTAWA — A small Ottawa company has won a $5.9-million contract to supply the federal government’s new information technology department, Shared Services Canada, with a system aimed at helping to safeguard the country’s secrets.

The software will help public servants flag certain sensitive emailed documents so they can’t be sent outside of the Government of Canada’s network firewalls.

Once adopted, the technology will also make it easier to determine when a sensitive email has been sent to someone outside the system — such as a government document being leaked to an outside party — and by whom.

Titus, a 20-year-old local software firm that employs about 50 people, announced the contract Tuesday.

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