Canada Announces Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence

On May 14, 2019, the Government of Canada announced the creation of its Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence (“Council”). The objectives of the Council include creating more jobs for Canadians, supporting entrepreneurs, and improving Canada’s global position in artificial intelligence (“AI“) research and development.

The Council will consider and identify: (i) innovative approaches to build on Canada’s current AI strengths and to further develop AI; (ii) opportunities for economic growth in Canada; and (iii) other opportunities in the AI sector that will benefit Canadians.

The Council will also establish working groups, including a working group with respect to commercializing value from Canadian-owned AI and data analytics.

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Privacy Commissioner Extends Deadline for Transborder Data Flow Consultation

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) has announced it will now be accepting comments related to its consultation on transborder data flows until Friday, June 28, 2019.

The discussion document, which was released on April 9, 2019 (see our blog post here, and our blog post about the OPC’s supplemental consultation paper here) reflected a reversal in the OPC’s twenty-year-old policy position on transborder data flows under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA“).

The OPC has indicated that it intends to provide guidance on disclosures for processing and related consent and accountability requirements.

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Court Declines to Compel Accused to Provide Smartphone Password

Overview

In declining to issue an assistance order compelling an accused to provide the password to his smartphone, Justice Downes’ decision in R v. Shergill , 2019 ONCJ 54 establishes that, at least in some cases, compelling the production of a password for the purposes of building a case against an individual violates the right against self incrimination.

R v. Shergill is another step in the unique search and seizure dynamics involved in the acquisition of evidence from cell phones. Password-protected smart phones in particular present unique challenges to the police and to privacy law as it has developed under the bricks-and-mortar world of the Charter in the last ten years.

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Meaningful Human Review In Decisions by Automated Decision-makers

On April 12, 2019, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office published comprehensive guidance (“Guidance”) titled  Automated Decision Making: the role of meaningful human reviews, one of the first posts on its recently launched AI Auditing Framework Blog. Although not binding on Canadian companies (which are subject to different laws), the post (and the blog generally) provide helpful information for companies implementing artificial intelligence (“AI”).

Also relevant to Canadian organizations is the Canadian federal governments Directive on Automated Decision-making, (“Directive”) published April 1, 2019, and which applies to any Automated Decision System developed or procured by the federal government after April 1, 2020.

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Privacy Commissioner Issues Supplemental Consultation Paper on Consent for Transborder Data Flows

On April 9, 2019, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) announced it would be holding a stakeholder consultation on transborder data flows. The consultation paper (“Consultation Paper”) proposed a reversal of the two-decades old existing policy on consent in such cases. See our previous post here.

However, the Consultation Paper simply stated the OPC’s position and invited the public’s views, with no indication of why the OPC thought the change was necessary or what the key issues were. Shortly thereafter, the OPC then issued supplemental consultation paper (“Supplemental Consultation Paper”), in which the OPC provided its rationale for its about-face, and posed specific questions for stakeholders to consider.

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Privacy Commissioner Proposes Consent be Required for Transborder Data Flows

On April 9, 2019, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) announced it would be holding a stakeholder consultation on transborder data flows. The consultation paper (“Consultation Paper”) proposes a reversal of the two-decades old existing policy on consent.

However, the Consultation Paper simply stated the OPC’s position and invited the public’s views, with no indication of why the OPC thought the change was necessary or what the key issues were. Shortly thereafter, the OPC then issued supplemental consultation paper (“Supplemental Consultation Paper”), in which the OPC provided its rationale for its about-face, and posed specific questions for stakeholders to consider.

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Twitter account name is not personal information

Is a Twitter account name (or ‘user name’) personal information? In the context of a Freedom of Information request, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta found that such information, where it is not clearly the case that the account is associated with an identifiable individual, is not personal.

It also extended its finding to conclude that email addresses should be regarded similarly.

This will be welcome guidance to businesses that have struggled to treat social media and other account names appropriately under privacy legislation.

Context

In Alberta Education (Re), 2019 CanLII 18046 (AB OIPC), the Applicant made a request for access under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) to Alberta Education (the Public Body).

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