Statement from the Privacy Commissioner following release of ETHI report on study into RCMP investigative tools
November 25, 2022
Privacy Commissioner of Canada Philippe Dufresne today issued the following statement regarding a new report from the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics following its study of “on device investigative tools” used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
I welcome the committee’s report, which calls for a legislative framework that recognizes privacy as a fundamental right and that requires government institutions to consider and address privacy impacts at the outset when developing and using new technologies.
The report sets out several important recommendations to enhance privacy protections such as:
- Amend the public sector Privacy Act to include an explicit obligation for government institutions to conduct privacy impact assessments before using high-risk technological tools to collect personal information and to submit them to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) for assessment.
- Amend the preamble to the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to indicate that privacy is a fundamental right.
- Grant the OPC the power to make recommendations and issue orders in both the public and private sectors when it finds violations of the laws for which it is responsible.
- Amend the Privacy Act to include the concept of privacy by design and an obligation for federal institutions subject to the Act to meet this standard when developing and using new technologies.
- Amend the Privacy Act to include explicit transparency requirements for government institutions, except where confidentiality is necessary to protect the methods used by law enforcement authorities and ensure the integrity of their investigations.
These important recommendations would reinforce the modernization of both PIPEDA and the Privacy Act to ensure that these laws protect Canadians’ fundamental right to privacy while supporting the public interest and innovation and accelerating Canadians’ trust in their institutions.
I hope that Parliament will give this report careful consideration as it reviews Bill C-27, which would update federal private-sector legislation, and as it considers future reforms to the Privacy Act.
- Appearance before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) on the Study of Device Investigation Tools Used by the RCMP
- Device investigative tools used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and related issues - Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
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