Privacy

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
canada, right to be forgotten



Canadian Government Leaning Towards A Right To Be Forgotten It Can Enforce Anywhere In The World

from the I-for-one-welcome-our-new-Canadian-overlords dept

It looks as though the "Right to Be Forgotten" will be crossing the Atlantic and setting up shop just north of the United States. The Canadian Privacy Commissioner has already stated existing Canadian privacy laws allow for this, but there's been no statutory adoption of the Commissioner's theory.

The idea that Canadians should join their European counterparts in being able to selectively erase personal information continues to be pushed by the Privacy Commissioner. Speaking at a recent conference in Toronto, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien reiterated his belief Canadians should be offered this dubious "right."

Therrien said he continues to support the concept of “the right to be forgotten” — which has been adopted in other jurisdictions through the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

“[I]nformation about individuals is much easier to find with the internet, thanks to search engines and other functions. The information that is found will often be taken out of context. It is easily replicable and is very difficult to delete,” said Therrien.

“All to say that information that went to reputation before the internet, that may be information known to a small circle of people, with the internet, is now potentially known to many, many people. Out of context, that information may be inaccurate and, moreover, may create real consequences for people. Reputation matters.”

Reputation does matter. That's the problem with the RTBF. While there are legitimate uses, there are also plenty of people willing to abuse it to obtain an unearned reputation. Fortunately, this abuse is routinely called out by press outlets hit with RTBF requests to delete unfavorable coverage or criticism.

The Privacy Commissioner's pitch continues and the Canadian Parliament seems amenable to the idea. The committee handling privacy, information access, and ethics has issued a report nudging the Canadian government towards the adoption of the Right to Be Forgotten. But its conclusions are somewhat contrary to the Privacy Commissioner's assertions. The committee likes the idea but points out these protections are not built into Canada's existing privacy laws.

The Committee’s first finding in this regard was that when online reputational damage occurs in the context of personal relationships rather than commercial transactions, PIPEDA does not apply (since the latter only applies to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in a commercial context).   Moreover, the Committee noted that the Criminal Code treats a number of related offences, such as regards the publication of intimate images without consent. Accordingly, the Committee clarified that the scope of their analysis was limited to the protection of privacy and online reputation in the context of commercial transactions.

With this, the committee appears to believe it can amend PIPEDA to include a "right to be forgotten," but one more expansive than the European model. According to this, it would appear to cover things like revenge porn.

As regards the right to erasure, the Committee noted that PIPEDA does not expressly contain such a right, although the principles of “consent”, “limited retention” and “accuracy” may be applied in some instances to give effect to a limited right of erasure in certain circumstances.

For example, according to Principle 4.3.8 of Schedule 1 to PIPEDA, an individual has the right to withdraw consent to the collection, use and disclosure of his/her personal information. If this is then combined with the limited retention principle, pursuant to which an organization may only retain personal information for so long as it is necessary for the fulfilment of the purposes for which it was collected, then (in some circumstances) an individual may successfully argue that, upon withdrawal of their consent, the organisation that holds their information should destroy it.

[...]

In this context, several of the Committee witnesses argued that PIPEDA should be amended to create a more comprehensive right of erasure (to address situations of cyberbullying or revenge porn, for example) that would be similar in scope to the right of erasure found in the GDPR.

It's not that revenge porn and cyberbullying should be ignored. It's more of a question whether amending the law will fix the problem without a lot of collateral damage. Fortunately, some of the committee members have expressed this exact concern, noting the potential PIPEDA amendments would likely adversely affect Canadian freedom of expression.

Unfortunately, there's a larger problem that's not discussed in the report: the recent Equustek decision. In this lawsuit, Canada's top court declared delisting orders issued in Canada were valid worldwide. Google challenged this decision in the US (Equustek did not make an appearance), obtaining a judgment finding the Canadian decision could not be applied extraterritorially. The committee believes the ruling could be read as covering personal information, not just trade secrets (which were central to the Equustek case). It also appears to indicate that any delisting requests can be enforced worldwide, no matter where the recipient of the order resides.

Further, the committee apparently believes the tech companies that will be delisting info aren't properly equipped to evaluate the public's interest in removal/non-removal when handling requests. This suggests the Canadian government may take a more hands-on approach if it decides to create a Right to Be Forgotten. Fortunately, some of the committee comments suggest they fear over-compliance rather than under-compliance, which may mean the Canadian government's involvement may actually include policing requests for abuse of the law.

Even with these cautionary comments, the concern remains that Canada will create its own version of RTBF, but with the added nasty side effect of the nation's highest court declaring orders issued in Canada must be executed by companies located in other countries. The committee's report [PDF] spends no time discussing this unfortunate ruling or its adverse effects if the world's tech companies are subjected to extraterritorial delisting orders. But that's what will happen if PIPEDA is amended: Canada will be giving its citizens the opportunity to engage in worldwide censorship.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:06pm

    Yet another law and counting

    I know that we have too many laws, overlapping laws, more unneeded laws coming, and a legislative system that has never heard of a problem they couldn't, or wouldn't write a law for, whether it makes sense or not, whether it is actually needed or not. I have a feeling that this symptom is the same in many countries.

    Now we have countries that want their laws to become our laws, whether they pass through our broken legislative process or not. We have too many laws now and they want to pile their laws on top of ours, racking up exponentially the number of laws we have now.

    What happens when one of their laws actually conflicts with an existing law of ours? Who is supposed to win? Do we accept laws from all other countries? What if that foreign born law is actually an infringement on our Constitutional rights? I know that government is working on abrogating those rights as fast as they can, but do they really need the help of other countries?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 5:57am

      Re: Yet another law and counting

      There is no problem so great that it cannot be fixed by adding more government regulation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:01am

      Re: Yet another law and counting

      Two things came to me last night.

      The first is about judge made law. The USSC recently told cops it was OK to shoot people, because their rights had not been 'clearly established'. The second is if they can impose their laws on us, how about imposing our laws on them? Hmm, which laws should we impose first?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 8:21pm

    NO similarity between gov't and civil suit!

    Enforcement in civil suits is not automatic, requires going to court again. Equustek didn't bother to contest in US, apparently hasn't in Canada either, surely because very little benefit for costs.

    HOWEVER, GOV'T is full of people with little to do and costs are no barrier. This WILL turn out entirely different for your precious GOOGLE, just as for the EU. Gov't will send armed men to arrest company officers, and seize property, and hold them until even the obstinate mattoids of Google obey.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 11:47pm

      Re: NO similarity between gov't and civil suit!

      Hmmmm... Do you suggest the war between the US and Canada? How otherwise Canadian gov't will send "armed men to arrest company officers"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 12:32am

        Re: Re: NO similarity between gov't and civil suit!

        No doubt he's talking about arresting officials in Google's Canadian operations.

        Much like how in the late 1990s Germany arrested a local CompuServe official over porn on Usenet, and Yahoo received legal threats from France over sales of Nazi memorabilia in the US.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 5:51am

          Re: Re: Re: NO similarity between gov't and civil suit!

          Did we really expect blue boy's sexual fetishes to be anything else aside from his hate-boner for Google? (Well, that and his long list of Chris Dodd fantasies.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2018 @ 1:32am

          Canada - the China of North America.

          No doubt he's talking about arresting officials in Google's Canadian operations.

          One can infer so. And what if Google doesn't have any office there? They don't in China, and for similar reasons.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 13 Apr 2018 @ 2:40pm

            Re: Canada - the China of North America.

            Then they don't have anyone to arrest and it's not an issue.

            Google has offices in Canada. And other facilities, including at least one cloud server farm so they can advertise a guarantee that users' sensitive data won't leave the country.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Apr 2018 @ 8:21pm

    Oh, our little brother to the north...

    always wanting to be like us. You're just too nice. Won't happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 8:42pm

    yet another "feelings" law in Canada

    How did Canada end up with so many laws that basically criminalize hurting someone's feelings? From "hate" speech to gender pronouns laws and more, Canada seems to be run by the kind of people who had such a sheltered childhood they never had to grow up. Maybe Jordan Peterson should take a break from his worldwide tour telling everyone how bad Canada's laws are, return to his country and start working to inject some sanity into Canada's legal system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 11:18pm

      Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

      How did Canada end up with so many laws that basically criminalize hurting someone's feelings?

      As in the US - SESTA for example - bad laws get passed with good intentions. So Canada passed some "hate speech" laws over a decade ago.

      But what the Breitbart crowd tends not to mention is that those laws got neutered a decade ago when tested in court.

      Maybe Jordan Peterson should....

      Look. The US and other countries have those who insist that the instant you grant rights to women or LGBTQ folks, you live in a totalitarian regime where you'll be arrested for using the wrong gender pronouns. They're dismissed as delusional morons, and the arrests don't happen. Canada is no different.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike-2 Alpha (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 12:49am

      Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

      Because we keep electing the Liberal Party. Despite the name, they are the party of the status quo. They have unironically referred to themselves as the "natural ruling party". That's a worldview that requires a certain amount of stasis, lest you upset the apple cart and cause a set of circumstances that push you out of power.

      Only, if you just sit on your hands and keep things going as they are, the voters start to wonder what you're doing for them. Thus you end up with one of two things: laws enacted to protect your feelings from being hurt, or laws intended to protect you from yourself. Always targeting behaviours outside the mainstream, mind, so that the bulk of the voting public won't get upset.

      Seriously: if you lean left in Canada, vote NDP or even Green. If you lean right, at the Federal level, the Conservatives are the only game in town. The Liberals only stand for Feelings Laws and taking care of you because you can't take care of yourself. That and their own continuity of rule.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 5:55am

        Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

        Perhaps Canada's Liberal party fears a repeat of the 2011 election, when so many traditional Liberal party voters abandoned ship and voted for far-left parties like NDP, and in response the Liberals moved even farther left.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 5:55am

        Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

        They have unironically referred to themselves as the "natural ruling party".

        You probably also believe that US Democrats were the ones calling Obama "the anointed one."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:17am

          Re: Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

          That was Ms. Clinton, who was considered unstoppable in the 2008 election. But after her unthinkable loss, she made sure that 2016 would not be a repeat of 2008, by positioning her loyalists into the top rungs of the Democratic party, and then acting shocked when they got caught doing exactly what they were supposed to do (without being caught, of course).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 3:14am

      Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

      How did Canada end up with so many laws that basically criminalize hurting someone's feelings?

      Because people whose feeling are hurt make a lot of noise, and politicians never consider do nothing as a valid option.So if you can get enough noise made, the politicians will do something.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:22am

      Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

      Jordan Peterson is a psychologist, not a lawyer.

      Please explain how psychologists are supposed to influence the legal system. Thank you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 9:04am

      Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

      Yeah, don't get your information on the status of Canada's hate speech laws from the stupid man's smart person.

      There are issues with them, yes. Peterson, however, just hyperbolically misrepresents them. For example, there was never ever a law forcing anyone to use any pronouns - that's just something he made up.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2018 @ 6:13am

        Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

        The idea that Jordan Peterson doesn't like is that there is bad wording in the new laws: basically that you don't have to have had knowledge of someone's preferred pronouns to "harass" them with the wrong ones.

        There's no precedent set from using these laws yet, so we don't know how stringently they'll be enforced. If there were some more clarity about that section of the bill, it wouldn't be so contentious.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 13 Apr 2018 @ 9:05am

          Re: Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

          here is bad wording in the new laws: basically that you don't have to have had knowledge of someone's preferred pronouns to "harass" them with the wrong ones.

          What wording are you referring to?

          The law is not very long. All it does is add "gender identity or expression" to existing lists of categories that are protected. It doesn't change the way the laws function. It doesn't even say ANYTHING about pronouns - not in the new bill, nor in the Canadian Human Rights Act as a whole. The new bill also in no way changes the definitions of harassment in the CHRA.

          http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-16/royal-assent

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2018 @ 3:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

            Jordan Peterson's complaint seemed to be that his university administration was interpreting the law's scope very broadly, so the use of 'preferred' gender pronouns, previously a courtesy, would now be mandatory under Canadian law.

            The law specifically gives gender identity/expression confused people the rather nebulous legal right "to have their needs accommodated" -- whatever that is supposed to mean (which is probably anything and everything that anyone demands it should mean until a judge says otherwise)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Leigh Beadon (profile), 14 Apr 2018 @ 9:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

              That might be what his complaint "seemed to be" if you need to force it to make sense instead of admitting he's full of shit. But in reality, he said quite explicitly that he feared he would be *sent to jail* for not using someone's pronouns. Yeah, not gonna happen.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            anon, 17 Apr 2018 @ 8:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: yet another "feelings" law in Canada

            So this law doesn't. If I understand correctly this laws allow for implementation in local policies. The Ontario Human Rights Commission policies include:

            “ Refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun”

            The only time I could find this being enforced was with regard to police officers intentionally using the wrong pronoun after being asked to stop. Now I can't find that link(^^).

            http://sds.utoronto.ca/blog/bill-c-16-no-its-not-about-criminalizing-pronoun-misuse/

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 11 Apr 2018 @ 9:02pm

    There is a bigger loss to be suffered by

    the right to be forgotten.

    History.

    If people, and more people, etc., can play "not me" forever it won't be long before gaps start appearing in our historical record that can't be fixed. Are you willing to accept fake (as in news) history?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 5:52am

      Re: There is a bigger loss to be suffered by

      If some people independently maintain archives of the forgotten things, but not made publicly available. At some future point, and possibly sooner than you think (like 20 years) and those materials are made available online by multiple sites, it will sure make fools of those who wanted the facts to be forgotten.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:29am

        Re: Re: There is a bigger loss to be suffered by

        These right to be forgotten laws are subtle, they do not demand that the site hosting the Information take it down, but only that the search engines remove them from their indexes.

        This could lead to someone comparing Google searches with their own crawl of a newspaper's archives, and identifying people who have used the right to be forgotten to remove stuff from the search engines.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re: There is a bigger loss to be suffered by

        New business opportunity - the "right to be remembered"

        I'll start a database tracking all 'right to be forgotten' requests and compile them all in one place (along with copies of anything asked to be 'forgotten', using the way-back machine if necessary).

        I'm sure a large database full of things that people don't want to have exposed (remembered/published) would be a valuable commodity. I'll add some 'creative expression' to the discussion of each item in order to establish my own COPYRIGHT on the information.

        I think I just exposed the new XXAA business model (FUAA - Forgotten Usenet Association of America), so expect to see it coming to a censorious regime near you shortly.

        Truck Fump...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    justok (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 10:58pm

    Better to

    It's very complicated in Canada. It is officially bilingual. Everything has to be done in both official languages. If there is only information about you in one language, then they can't delete it because they have to delete both French and English.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 5:32am

      Re: Better to

      The language issue is one example of the way that numerous Wikipedia articles that should be at least similar, if not virtually identical, end up completely contradicting each other.

      Trying to enforce a 'right to be forgotten' gag order in every language in the world could be equally futile.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:28am

      Re: Better to

      Common misconception. Most of us Canadians don't even speak or understand French. English is the default language for almost the entire country. Road signage and business storefronts are only required to be bilingual in Ottawa and Quebec. Government services are always available in French upon request, but you'll probably have to listen to an English message and press 9 when the French voice tells you to "appuyer" it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 9:08am

        Re: Re: Better to

        Private businesses don't need French signs or service in Ottawa, and governments do outside those areas; notably Nouveau-Brunswick is officially bilingual.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 11:51pm

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 12 Apr 2018 @ 3:54am

    ..It Can Enforce Anywhere In The World

    Well, they can certainly try.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 5:42am

    RTBF takedown notice

    When you get a Right To Be Forgotten takedown notice, maybe that takedown notice also should have a right to be forgotten?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:16am

    Mommy, why do the Amendments start numbering with Two?

    Was there no First Amendment?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NotPublicThenForgetAboutIt, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:33am

    I see it differently

    Individuals are not public figures and absolutely have the right to be forgotten.

    Consider the multi millionaire lottery winner that won in court to remain anonymous, as becoming a public figure means people would forever be scheming to take those millions away.

    Being digital doesn't raise the standing. So much emphasis on digital... blah, it's called a paper trail for a reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 12 Apr 2018 @ 7:36am

      Re: I see it differently

      That depends on the individual and on the circumstances. I don't like the idea of newspapers, etc., being censored to get rid of stories about people who behaved badly or were involved in an embarrassing incident at some point in time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:51am

    Everyone deserves the right to be forgotten.

    Because, after all, Hitler did nothing wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 8:42am

      Re: Everyone deserves the right to be forgotten.

      It was SOOOOO long ago! Can't we let bygones be bygones?

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2018 @ 6:34am

        Re: Re: Everyone deserves the right to be forgotten.

        You said it. It must be so hard for Germans to keep living with that shame. Italians and Japanese, too. Fo'get about it, whassa matta fo' you?

        I know what I'll do once this is passed in Canada. I'm gonna stop those fussy, persnickity native injuns from talking about residential schools. That'll teach 'em to shame us with our own past!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Châu, 13 Apr 2018 @ 12:43pm

    Passport

    If a country want me follow its laws, then I demand passport from that country first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2018 @ 3:48pm

    It's more like a right to be streisanded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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