Held on September 14th and 15th, and attended by our Susan Nickle, this conference covered the good, the bad, and the ugly about privacy and data security issues in the public and sectors, in both the provincial and federal jurisdictions.
Through a diverse (and international) lineup of speakers and topics, a common theme quickly emerged in virtually every session in the form of “what is personal information?”. Canadians are grappling with this issue in many contexts.
At the Gala dinner on Friday night, Federal Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart noted that technology continues to change our notions of privacy and of personal information. She is firmly in favour of a “broader is better” definition of “personal information” to ensure we remain in step with other nations, which continue to expand their interpretations of the term. Her goal is for Canada to be a world leader in terms of access to information from public bodies, as well as in protection of the personal information of individual Canadians.
Canadian courts (including the Supreme Court of Canada) are currently considering the current scope of “personal information”. We will watch with interest as decisions emerge.