Big Data, Big Responsibilities: Recommendations to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on Canadian Privacy Rights in a Digital Age

CIGI Junior Fellows Policy Brief No. 8

July 22, 2013

Big Data — an umbrella term encompassing the collection, retention and use of a massive volume and variety of data about individuals — presents a number of unique challenges that are increasingly undermining privacy rights. Canada’s Personal Information and Electronic Documents Ac (PIPEDA) established a legal foundation for protecting the online privacy rights of individuals, but new safeguards should be put in place to further prevent loss or resale of data, surveillance and tracking of an individual’s location, and misuse of data by corporate actors. Authors of the eighth Junior Fellows policy brief, Samantha Bradshaw, Kyle Harris and Hyla Zeifman, recommend that there be clearer guidelines indicating the length of time for storage of data; reinforced benefits to storing privacy-sensitive Canadian data on local clouds, to prevent jurisdictional privacy and security risks; clear and accessible Terms of Service agreements; and limits on third-party sharing and resale of collected data.

Part of Series

CIGI Junior Fellows Policy Brief Series

The CIGI Junior Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides masters level students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. Working under the direction of a project leader, each junior fellow conducts research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that met CIGI’s publications standards.

About the Authors

Samantha Bradshaw is a CIGI fellow and assistant professor in new technology and security at American University.

Kyle Harris is a candidate for a master’s degree in global governance at the University of Waterloo, based at the BSIA in Waterloo, Ontario. He graduated with a B.A (honours) in history from the University of Waterloo in 2006 and completed his M.A. specializing in international history from the University of Waterloo in 2007. His research interests include Internet governance, civil society, human rights and nuclear non-proliferation.

Hyla Zeifman is a candidate for a master’s degree in international public policy at the BSIA. She graduated with a bachelor of public affairs and policy management from Carleton University in the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs and Policy Management. Her research currently examines the use of social media and information communication technologies in post-conflict reconstruction efforts.