StatsCan Plan to Collect Banking Info from 500,000 Canadians Put on Hold

Statistics Canada had a plan to secretly collect banking data from 500,000 Canadians, but now that controversial move has been put on hold. With millions of Canadians using mobile banking from their smartphone, app data from mobile transactions most likely would have been included.

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Federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien launched an investigation into the plan and yesterday, Statistics Canada said it would now put the banking data collection idea on hold, reports CTV News:

…chief statistician Anil Arora told a Senate committee Thursday that the banking-data project will not proceed until Therrien has finished his work and Canadians’ privacy concerns have been addressed.

According to Arora, “We have not received a single piece of information yet from any of those financial institutions.”

He added, “The individual record is not shared with a minister, with a court, with law enforcement officers, CSIS, you name it — nobody gets access to that individual record.”

Statistics Canada is allowed to instruct public and private entities—including banks—to release data when requested, by law, as per a section of the federal privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

An organization, such as a bank, would be forced to disclose personal information “without the knowledge or consent of the individual to a government institution that has identified its lawful authority to obtain personal information.”

According to the Canadian Bankers Association, “44 per cent of Canadians reported using mobile banking during the last year, up from 31 per cent in 2014 and just five per cent in 2010.” Eight per cent have used their smartphone to make a payment, while nine per cent of Canadians say mobile cheque deposit is now their primary method of depositing a cheque.

Do you care if Statistics Canada gets your banking data?