Jim Balsillie: It’s Time For Canada’s Government to Control Data Created by Institutions


According to a new report from The Star, former co-CEO of Blackberry Jim Balsillie claims that the Canadian government should start taking control of data that is created by institutions in the country.

“This data is collected by unregulated digital infrastructures that power increasing aspects of our country. Data flows have transformed how businesses do commerce and people connect globally, making data the most valuable asset in today’s economy.”

There is no doubt that data is the most powerful tool we have in society today. Balsillie says that it is critical for Canada to design and implement a National Data Strategy to protect this data.

In a statement, the United States Department of Commerce recently said that “we may be underestimating the economic significance of data flows.” A lot of this data is collected by Google, to whom Waterfront Toronto recently gave the keys to the most valuable space in Toronto.

“Governments can and should ensure that citizens control the data they and their institutions create. This is why Canada must move quickly to begin developing a National Data Strategy.”

Balsillie said that if the government controls the data it can be used to stop the “psychological manipulation of citizens” and aid to maintain national security.

What are your thoughts on Balsillie’s proposal? Let us know in the comments below!


  • erth

    i think he should quit testing the governments pot supply. Seriously, as soon as government is involved, worse things usually are around the corner. You cannot believe that having a government involved will help this situation. what should occur is standardization of security from a group of businesses. once they are together, they will come up with the rules, and the rules should be following and implemented as such.

  • It’s Me

    Except that this has nothing at all to do with standardization of security.

    This has to do with creation of, access to and control of our data. Think about all the personal and private data just Facebook and Google have amassed over the years on you and people around you. Think about all the data mining they do to learn about you, your activities, your preferences, you acquaintances, your work, you children, your family, you buying habits, your interests, etc, all so they can sell you to other businesses and organizations.

    You really want to leave it to the businesses collecting and creating all of this data to create the rules for collecting and creating all of this data?

  • erth

    as i stated in my post, do you want to let the government handle this? i respect business more than government. i know i don’t. it just gives them more power, and they usually use that against us. i will take business any day.

  • Brenda

    How anti-Orwellian.

  • It’s Me

    Yes, as far as privacy laws, I would prefer the government to handle it.

    Letting corporations with a vested interest in exploited your data decide the laws limited how much they can exploit you is not a well thought out position. They will obviously do what the are suppose to do, which is maximize shareholder value by exploiting as much as they are allowed, which will be unlimited if they are the ones to set their own limites.

    That’s as wise a plan as allowing students to set their own curriculum and given themselves their own grades. What could go wrong with that?

  • Sam

    Should this not be a part of the CRTC’s mandate? Not the government or businesses??

  • BigCat

    I can understand your reasoning for choosing business.

    As for me I have worked for some incredibly greedy people and Corporations. Even with 3rd party audits and Commission oversight they still found ways to abuse people for money, lots of money.

    There is no question that good business can introduce both efficiency and innovation. The question is would I want a company like Rogers, Ford, or IBM running something like Canada Customs or your local Hospital?

    Government has many flaws, but its an environment that makes it hard for one person or small group to control for a prolonged period of time. As well whistleblowers are much more plentiful.