Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Privacy Expert Ann Cavoukian: Federal 'Digital Charter' Is Pre-Election Posturing

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Privacy Expert Ann Cavoukian: Federal 'Digital Charter' Is Pre-Election Posturing

Article excerpt

Cavoukian: 'digital charter' coming too late


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - One of Canada's leading privacy experts said Monday she's in favour of the federal government's recently announced "digital charter" but thinks it should have been brought out long ago.

If the government was serious about protecting Canadian privacy and digital rights, it would have acted last year or the year before, former Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian said.

She said the Trudeau government signalled in a report released in February 2018, that it was thinking about some of the principles contained in the digital charter but waited until May to release it.

"It's talk. It's for show. And that's what upsets me, because the government had a real chance of making this a reality and they chose not to do that," Cavoukian said.

"That's what I object to, not the contents of the digital charter. . . . If this was real, it would have been done last year or the year before."

Cavoukian was commenting at the annual Canadian Telecom Summit in Mississauga, Ont.

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who responsible for the digital charter as well as telecommunications, will speak at the same conference on Wednesday.

The minister last month unveiled the 10-point digital charter that he said was necessary to build trust in a rapidly evolving society and economy that's increasingly data-reliant.

His comments came a few days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a technology conference in Paris that his government intended to introduce a new digital charter to combat hate speech, misinformation and online electoral interference.

A member of the Bains' staff said by phone that the minister understands Cavoukian's position but feels the government updated one of Canada's privacy laws last year and plans to do more in future.

Earlier Monday, the chairwoman of a government-appointed panel looking at Canada's telecommunications and broadcasting laws said the goal is to make its recommendations in January. …

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