Federal Privacy Law Faces Challenges In Canada


Currently, Canadian wireless carriers and other companies can be asked to share a customer’s private data with the government without the need for a warrant.

In 2011, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association said its members received a total of 1.2 million requests in one year, and disclosed information about 780,000 customers.

Chris Parsons, a Canadian citizen, aims to change the current privacy legislation. On Wednesday, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association announced that it is filing an application with Parsons in the Ontario Superior Court.

The filing aims to remove the ‘unconstitutional’ parts of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The privacy act controls how personal information is handled in Canada’s private sector.

The challenge alleges that the sections of the law allowing warrantless disclosure of customer information violate parts of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing the right to “life, liberty and security of the person” and the right to be “free from unreasonable search and seizure.”

Canadian Civil Liberties Association lawyer Cara Zwibel said that the amount of disclosures being made is concerning and makes Parsons’ request a legitimate one. In an interview with CBC News she said:

“We know that there are implications for people when this kind of information gets shared, there’s also a lack of transparency.”

Canadian carriers refuse to disclose how often they hand over customers’ private information to the public. Hopefully we will see a change made to this privacy legislation shortly.

[via CBC News]

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