Parliament Hill: Canada Acts on Privacy, Spam and Competition Issues

dropix2Canadian Privacy Commissioner Tags Google for Medical BT

In only her second month on the job, Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier took on one of the giants of the Internet – Google.  Bernier cited Google for sending targeted ads for medical conditions based on consumer searches which violates Canada’s “Privacy and Online Behavioural Advertising Guidelines” which prohibit targeting based on sensitive information.  Google has agreed to take corrective action.  FTC Consumer Protection Bureau Director Jessica Rich congratulated Bernier.  “Privacy issues are increasingly global.  Working in partnership with other enforcement bodies is critical to protecting privacy rights domestically and around the world.”

Canadian Spam Regs to Take Effect in July — Kind Of

Last month, the Canadian spam law celebrated its third anniversary, but there was little celebration since the regulations implementing the law will not come into effect until July 2014 due to heavy lobbying by Canadian businesses.  Even then, the private right of action provision does not kick in until July 2017.  Canada’s leading internet authority, Michael Geist, explained that the new law will provide Canadians

with greater control over their in-boxes since it is grounded in an “opt-in” approach that requires marketers to obtain customer consent before sending commercial electronic messages. The shift to opt-in consent will be felt across all marketing activities as consumers increasingly expect that their personal information will only be used with their prior permission.

Industry Canada provides the following summary of the “new” law.

Canada’s Competition Bureau Investigating ICANN and Google for Possible Antitrust Violations

The Canadian Competition Bureau has confirmed that it is investigating whether “the manner in which Google operates its search engine and search-advertising platforms … amount to an abuse of a dominant position.”  It also is investigating the use of exclusive rights in ICANN’s expansion of the gTLDs.

CA WIFI2Snowden Documents Reveal Canadian Authorities Tracked Travelers’ Internet Access

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden are causing waves north of the 49th Parallel, as it seems Canadian officials used airport WiFi access to track travelers for several days as part of tests conducted with the NSA.

More Info:  Google broke Canada’s privacy laws with targeted health ads, watchdog says, Toronto Globe and Mail;  Google ads sparked by web surfing on health sites violate privacy rights, investigation finds, Canadian Privacy Commission; What Will Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Mean for Users?, Michael Geist; Competition Bureau: Google May Be Violating Antitrust Laws, Huffington Post; Snowden Leak: Canada Tracked Its Citizens Through Airport Wi-Fi, Business Insider.