As Canadians were getting ready to head off for a long-weekend,
Canada and the U.S. released a Statement of Privacy Principles intended to
govern sharing of information between the two countries in
connection with the Canada-U.S. Security Perimeter agreement.
Canada and the U.S. have expressly declared that the Statement of
Privacy Principles is non-binding and does not create any rights or
obligations under domestic or international law. Accordingly,
its utility appears to be limited to a guiding statement of
There are twelve principles. Three are particular worthy of
Permission for Onward Transfers to Third
Countries. Information shared by Canada with the United
States (or by the United States with Canada) may be shared with
third countries. For example, data shared by Canada with the
U.S. may be shared with a third country if onward sharing would be
consistent with the domestic law of the United States and any
sharing conforms to international agreements and arrangements
between the United States and third countries. If there are
no applicable international agreements, the originating country (in
our example, Canada) is supposed to be notified of
the information transfer.
Redress. Canada and the United States are
supposed to provide for remedies where a person's privacy has
been infringed by international sharing or where there has been a
violation of data protection rules with respect to that
Individual Access and Rectification. Canada
and the United States are supposed to provide individuals with
access to personal information as well as the ability to seek
rectification and/or expungement of their personal information.
If access is to be limited, the country restricting access is
supposed to provide specific grounds consistent with domestic
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A discussion on a recent decision of the Alberta Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in which an adjudicator emphasizes the narrow scope of personal information that can be considered reasonable to collect, use, and disclose for the purpose of providing background checks.
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