Canadian Security Magazine

Canada participating in global privacy check

By Canadian Security   

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The explosion of Internet-connected everyday objects and privacy concerns surrounding our increasingly wired world have prompted the Global Privacy Enforcement Network to focus on the Internet of Things during the 2016 global privacy sweep.

This year’s Sweep will take place from April 11-15, and will involve a number of data protection authorities from around the world, including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), which will focus its efforts on health devices.

“Connected devices, such as fitness trackers, smart scales, sleep monitors and other health related products, are capable of capturing some of our most intimate data,” Commissioner Daniel Therrien says.

“Given the sensitivity of the information, it is imperative that the companies behind such devices are transparent about what they collect, how the information will be used and with whom the data will be shared. I’m pleased the sweep will focus on this important area under the Internet of Things banner.”

As part of this year’s initiative, authorities will focus on accountability. Sweep participants will look at the privacy communications and practices related to Internet-connected devices.


The goal of the international sweep is to increase public and business awareness of privacy rights and responsibilities, encourage compliance with privacy legislation, identify concerns that may be addressed through targeted education or enforcement and enhance cooperation among privacy enforcement authorities.

This year’s sweep theme—the Internet of Things—dovetails other initiatives by the OPC in this emerging area. For example, in February the office published a research paper on the subject.

The body as information, a term used to describe privacy concerns surrounding the increased use of highly sensitive health, genetic and biometric information, was also identified among four strategic privacy priorities that will guide the OPC’s work over the next five years. The focus on health devices during this year’s sweep builds on the OPC’s work in this area.

The results of the sweep will be compiled and made public in the fall.

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