Privacy Commissioner Says Privacy Situation Improving reports Sam Designer
Sites that were giving out private information are doing a better job complying
Jennifer Stoddart, The country's privacy commissioner, called upon 11 of Canada's leading websites in the fall of 2012 to review the operating practices following a study that noted they had been handing out information of clients. The information dolled out included items such as user names, email addresses, location data, and other identifying information. The information had been sent out to advertisers and analytics companies, and in some cases the fact the information was not handed out legal was not even known to the third-party companies themselves.
Of the 25 sites that were sighted in the sample, six prompted “significant privacy concerns,” while five more were merely put on notice that their practices were questionable.
“With certain companies, the matter is entirely resolved,” said office representative Valerie Lawton in an email. “Through verification with them, we found that the information shared was not personal [or] the company has addressed the issue.”
“With others, we have been engaged in specific discussions to address any remaining issues.”
Stoddart warned that those who did not cooperate in full with the Privacy Commissioner's office were at risk of public exposure. Although the websites examined in the study have not been revealed as of yet, the intention of the report was not merely to make an example of anyone, but instead to “offer a snapshot of Canadian context.”
“If you’re signing into a website and unbeknownst to you … there’s a range of things being passed on to a third party who may be passing it on to a data broker, who may be putting it together with information from another site that’s leaking information on you but different information, than you have the chance for major profiling on you,” Ms. Stoddart told the Financial Post in an earlier interview. “I think it’s very, very serious as a practice.”
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