Privacy is an issue that has caught many users of social media and social networks unawares. Heck, it’s probably an active issue for 99% of us, whether we’re aware of it or not.
The challenge of online privacy starts with the terms of reference that we “read” when we’re signing up for a new service. How many of us actually read through the pages of legalese that stand between us and the shiny new service or app that we want to try out? Very few, I’d say.
The problem is compounded by changes to privacy policies we didn’t understand in the first place.
Remember, if you are not paying for a service, then you yourself are probably the product. And some advertiser or other third party is probably paying to access the data you’ve willingly and perhaps unwittingly provided to the shiny new app/service. It’s a case of User Beware.
Thankfully, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner have both taken an active, intelligent interest in online privacy. For several years, they’ve researched issues related to our online privacy and shared their findings and observations in real life events and online. They’ve been effective advocates for our personal privacy even when we’ve given into the temptation to skip reading the privacy notices or not spent enough time considering the issues surrounding privacy. (Few of us do, including me. They are complex and layered. Tougher to get our minds around than the simple joy of “liking” or “friending”.)
So, I’m looking forward to an upcoming event staged by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. On May 2, they are convening a day-long research symposium: Pathways to Privacy: Privacy for Everyone with a top-notch line up of speakers from academe, government, and civil society. Topics and speakers include:
|8:30 – 8:50 am
- Ms. Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada
- Ms. Patricia Kosseim, Senior General Counsel and Director General, Legal Services, Policy and Research Branch, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
8:50 – 9:15 amOpening Keynote
9:15 – 10:30 amPanel 1: The Changing Landscape for Youth
10:45 – 12:00 pmPanel 2: Reaching Diverse Populations
1:00 – 1:25 pmAfternoon Keynote
1:25 – 2:45 pmPanel 3: Cultural Perspectives on Privacy
- Gisèle Yasmeen, Vice-President, Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (moderator)
- Dr. Jens Weber, Professor, Department of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor, School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria on “First Nations Privacy and EHR systems”
- Tonia Mori, Director General, CHOQ-FM on French Awareness Campaign on the Protection of Personal Information and Privacy.
- Mirjana Mandaric, Master of Arts Immigration and Settlement Studies, Ryerson University, Ryerson University on “Biometrics: Constructing ‘Ideal’ Subjects and ‘Aliens’ at the Canada-U.S. Border”
3:00 – 4:20 pmPanel 4: Frontiers of Surveillance and Identification among Different Populations
4:20 – 4:30 pmClosing remarks
I’m planning to attend this symposium. And if I’m able, I’ll record interviews with the speakers who have the most impact and make the greatest contribution to thinking on privacy issues.