On June 4, 2012, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of
Ontario ("IPC") released her 2011 Annual Report. The theme of the
report "Ever Vigilant" was chosen because, according the
IPC's press release, the reintroduction of
"lawful access" legislation (discussed in my previous
here) "represented one of the most invasive threats to our
privacy and freedom" that the IPC has encountered and
represent, in her words, what she is calling "Surveillance by
Here are some highlights relating to access to government-held
information from the Annual Report and accompanying material.
A record number (45,159) of access to government-held
information requests were filed in Ontario in 2011 (up 16% year
A record number of appeals (1,214) appeals were issued
regarding government responses to those access to government-held
The dramatic increases in public demand for government-held
information reflects the role of the Internet and accompanying
technologies and provides the opportunity for greater civic
participation but requires proactive rather than reactive
approaches to information disclosure.
The IPC has developed 7 principles to guide "Access by Design" to guide government and
public sector organizations in re-thinking access to
The IPC calls on the Government of Ontario to develop an
"Open Data" portal by the end of 2012. The IPC is
setting an example by making raw statistics available along with
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A credit union (the "Employer") dismissed a helpdesk analyst (the "Analyst") with cause after discovering the Analyst had, without permission or authorization, remotely accessed another employee’s confidential document stored on the Employer’s network.
With security breaches being on the rise, the requirement to have organizations notify the relevant privacy commissioners and affected individuals upon a security breach taking place is becoming increasingly important.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has announced that the Federal Trade Commission, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, the OPC and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia and 15 other enforcement authorities worldwide are participating in an "Internet Privacy Sweep".