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||Opening Remarks|
- 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
- Ms. Valerie Steeves, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa on the “eGirls” project
9:15 – 10:30 amPanel 1: The Changing Landscape for Youth
- Ms. Daphne Guerrero, Head, Public Education and Outreach, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (moderator)
- Jane Tallim, Media Awareness Network on “Young Canadians in a Wired World”
- Ms. Sara Grimes, PhD Candidate with the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University on “Deconstructing the Cyberchild: children’s online play at the intersection of policy, technology and cultural industries”
- John Lawford, Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre on “All in the Data Family? Databases, Children and Profiling”
10:45 – 12:00 pmPanel 2: Reaching Diverse Populations
- Mr. Michael Jenkin, Director General, Office of Consumer Affairs, Industry Canada(moderator)
- Linda Girard, Director General, Association sur l’Accès et la Protection de l’Information (AAPI) on various funded projects
- James Roots, Executive Director, Canadian Association for the Deaf on “Understanding Your Privacy Rights: The PIPEDA in Signs”
- Claire Harvey, Head of Media Relations, Options Consommateurs on credit rating and identify theft issues
1:00 – 1:25 pmAfternoon Keynote
- Dr. Lesley Jacobs, Director, York Centre for Public Policy and Law, York University, on “Privacy Rights Mobilization among Marginalized Groups: Fulfilling the Mandate of PIPEDA” and “Protecting Privacy Rights in the Emerging Digital Economy: Canada’s Regulatory Scheme, Its Adaptability, and Its Future”
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
- Sue O’Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (moderator)
- Dr. Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law & Technology at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, (“Building Better Humans: Health, enhancements and human rights”)
- Dr. David Lyon, Queen’s Research Chair in Surveillance Studies on the New Transparency Project
- Cynthia Fraser, Consultant on International Technology Safety, National Network to End Domestic Violence on “The Impacts of Surveillance and Identification on Victims of Abuse”
4:20 – 4:30 pmClosing remarks
- Ms. Chantal Bernier, Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada
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.