Canada privacy czar warns against spies trawling social media

Jan 28, 2014
A view of the Facebook homepage on May 6, 2012

Canada's interim privacy commissioner on Tuesday urged lawmakers to crack down on government spies who trawl without cause on social media websites to gather people's personal data.

"It is our view that (government) departments should not access on social media sites unless they can demonstrate a direct correlation to legitimate government business," said Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier.

In a special report to Parliament, Bernier noted that technical capabilities for surveillance have "grown exponentially" in the digital age.

Canadians meanwhile are posting an unprecedented amount of personal information online, for example, on website Facebook.

Bernier warned that this "has the potential to become the predominant collection channel" of spy agencies.

She said information often is posted online with an expectation of privacy.

"The public availability of personal information on the Internet does not render personal information non-personal," she said.

The report calls for the development of guidelines for the collection, use and dissemination of intelligence from online sources and social network sites.

It also urges increased oversight of the spy agency Canadian Security Intelligence Service and electronics eavesdropping agency Communications Security Establishment Canada.

It also called for Canada's Privacy Act, which has remained essentially unrevised since 1983, to be modernized.

Explore further: Google caught afoul of privacy law in Canada

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Watchdog: Facebook violates Canadian privacy law

Jul 16, 2009

(AP) -- Canada's privacy commissioner says the online social networking site Facebook breaches Canadian law by keeping users personal information indefinitely after members close their accounts.

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

thatsitalright
not rated yet Jan 29, 2014
1. Thank god they didn't say "trolling"

2. If Canada's intelligence agency isn't collecting this data, they should get an award for being the only ones on the planet who isn't

3. I pissed in the wind once. I suppose if I was being paid it wouldn't be a bad job

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.