TPP Likely To Force Canada To Repeal Local Data Protection Laws

from the so-who-voted-for-that? dept

Techdirt has written a couple of times about European sensitivities regarding data protection, in particular when it comes to privacy rules requiring local storage of personal data. It turns out that Europe is not alone in its concern that agreements like TAFTA/TTIP and TISA could jeopardize this approach. An article in The Tyee points out that two of Canada’s provinces — British Columbia and Nova Scotia — have requirements that sensitive personal data must be stored locally, and that they are likely to fall victim to TPP because the US insists the laws are “non-tariff barriers”:

U.S. negotiators are pushing hard to eliminate national laws in TPP countries that require sensitive personal data to be stored on secure local servers, or within national borders. This goal collides with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Act and similar regulations in Nova Scotia, which are listed as “foreign trade barriers” in a 2015 United States Trade Representative (USTR) report.

According to that report, the B.C. privacy laws “prevent public bodies such as primary and secondary schools, universities, hospitals, government-owned utilities, and public agencies from using U.S. services when personal information could be accessed from or stored in the United States.”

Irrespective of your views on whether such local storage requirements are reasonable or not, what’s significant here is that TPP, ostensibly a trade agreement, may force Canada to repeal local privacy laws. That fact underlines why the secret nature of the negotiations is profoundly anti-democratic: matters are being decided behind closed doors that should rightly be debated openly.

Data flows are just one example: TPP and other “trade” agreements like TAFTA/TTIP and TISA will have profound implications for many aspects of everyday life in signatory countries. And yet the public in those nations will be able to provide almost no input into the negotiating process, largely on the grounds that the discussions are “just” technical adjustments to trade rules. Indeed, most people aren’t even aware of what is being done in their name: a recent poll suggests that three in four Canadians have never heard of TPP, so the chances that a massive wave of public outrage might yet save those local data privacy laws are pretty close to nil.

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Comments on “TPP Likely To Force Canada To Repeal Local Data Protection Laws”

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Devonavar (profile) says:

I'll make you a deal...

Dear USTR,

I will make you a deal. You can repeal my data privacy laws in BC if I can repeal your PATRIOT Act.

The PATRIOT Act provides an unfair competitive advantage to American companies because it authorizes the indiscriminate surveillance of non-American data while limiting such surveillance within American borders. As such, it provides greater data protection within America’s borders, and this represents a foreign trade barrier for British Columbian businesses.

I trust that this will not be a problem, as you obviously understand the importance of eliminating barriers to free trade, and of maintaining consistent global standards for data privacy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I'll make you a deal...

Problem with that is instead of changing the PATRIOT Act to weaken foreign surveillance, it will instead be changed to instead have the same level of surveillance within the US as without. Not that it really limits surveillance anyway but it would remove the illusion that there is some kind of restraint.

Sheogorath says:

According to that report, the B.C. privacy laws “prevent public bodies such as primary and secondary schools, universities, hospitals, government-owned utilities, and public agencies from using U.S. services when personal information could be accessed from or stored in the United States.”
The mentioned report is correct. British Columbia’s privacy laws prevent accessing any international network such as the Internet, international phone calls, and airmail. In fact, the laws are so strict that they prevent international travel to and from BC in case personal information makes its way outside of Canada’s borders in people’s heads.
Hey, Devonavar. Quit lying! If you were really in BC, you wouldn’t be able to comment on any US website thanks to personal data privacy laws so overweening that they restrict trade. 😉

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: I'm still waiting for the news:

I sincerely hope you’re not holding your breathe in anticipation.

Remember, all of the public news – Television – pertaining to these trade deals is 100% positive, with absolutely none of the negative aspects ever being mentioned by the Truth Free Press.

Thus, the lion’s share of the populations of North America, will, as always, remain blissfully unaware of the horror that is about to be dropped in their laps, until long after the deal is done.

Exactly as planned.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: If you're talking about mainstream media...

Yeah, of course the news channels don’t mention it except as a new, generic trade deal. I’ve not seen much advertising about how great it’s going to be (or even what it will do). Much like NAFTA. It’s a trade agreement. Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it.

But Google searches (well, DDG searches) for TPP reveals plenty of pages on ZOMG WE GOTTA STOP THIS THING!, with varying degrees of alarm, but there’s a consensus at the top of the search results that TPP is way bad news.

And there are numerous activism fronts who are very serious about the TPP not happening.

So I’d like to imagine they’re prepping to do another SOPA blackout at some point, or some other major publication campaign, since all the SOPA stuff is in TPP and more.

I haven’t seen the plan, but I haven’t really looked either.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 If you're talking about mainstream media...

Sadly, the internet intelligensia is not as large a group as it appears to be and it has almost zero credibility among the Television Idiocracy which makes up the lion’s share of the NA population. This lack of credibility is due almost entirely to the “bad press” fantasy-news about internet horrors like pedophile chat rooms, and snuff film websites, that makes up about 10-20% of each week’s televised “newstainment” broadcast.

While I’m more than amazed by the power wielded by that small portion of NA that is web-happy, as was seen during the SOPA scam, the general population neither understood what happened, nor comprehended what was prevented from happening during that joust.

These later day SOPA engineers are taking into account the various things that websters did to knock SOPA.1 out of the water and they are doing whatever is necessary to insure that a repeat of that “failure to launch” is impossible this time.

They have actually gone so far as to employ the (P)Resident (S)elect of the United States to push through Fast Track so the new SOPA has a chance of passing into law before anyone can do anything to stop it. That’s pulling out the Big Guns.

If the general population was to actually learn what is being done to it through these phony trade processes, there might be some small chance of a grass roots termination, but as it stands, there is only the wee wall of websters and even then there is really only that very small percentage of their number that truly understands the danger this “Thing of Theirs” – the fake trade deal – poses.

If the Websters can pull a rabbit out of their hat again this time and stop this horrid bit of “law” from becoming reality, I will be completed astounded, but as I pointed out above, I hope nobody here happens to be holding their breath in anticipation.

Knowing just how desperate the fascists are to get these laws in place and knowing that these people would gladly start world war three if they thought it would guarantee successful initiation of the trade deal, I certainly am not holding my breath.

Anonymous Coward says:

The TPP won’t be passed, if it is in Canada, under the current government, Harper cannot commit himself to much right now, sure he will say the opposite publicly, but also, this TPP thing doesn’t understand Canada isn’t a Federation.

It’s a confederation. Provinces rights are several times higher than american states, rights and responsibilities too. If BC and NS decides to keep their files locally, what’s gonna happen, TPP Black Ops?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Oh and...

It’s indeed being talked about by the most likely soon to be gone oil whore Harper and his conservatards in October, most likely will be thrown back to a minority government, where he can’t get things done without other parties agreeing to it. The NDP would never support the TTP, the Liberals would be a mixed bag, Liberals are basically Democrats, the difference is Canada has 4 big federal parties, and the NDP is a real left party, not centre-left, it’s a social-democrat party.

But yeah Harper has talked to the provinces about the TPP, most of it in secret, but he can’t implement it bt himself.

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