Huffington Post: Privacy law amendment foreshadows Lawful Access

From Huffington Post

It's not exactly Canada’s very own Patriot Act, but a Harper government amendment to the country's privacy law has some experts seeing shadows of the controversial U.S. legislation.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis tabled an amendment to the PIPEDA privacy law on Thursday, hailing it as a step forward towards greater protection of Canadians’ online privacy.

Among the amendment’s provisions are a new rule requiring organizations to report data security breaches to Canada’s privacy commissioner, as well as some exceptions to privacy rules designed to make it easier for companies to carry out day-to-day business.

But what has privacy experts worried is a new provision that allows organizations to hand over personal information about individuals to law enforcement and private investigators without a warrant. And, when the law enforcement agency requests it, the organization can be forbidden from notifying the individual in question that their information has been passed on.

It’s that secrecy clause that has some privacy experts comparing the PIPEDA amendment to the USA Patriot Act, a massive law passed with little debate in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that civil liberties advocates have criticized as being a major expansion of the U.S. government’s ability to spy on private citizens. Read more »