Privacy Commissioner announces funding for independent privacy research

GATINEAU, QC, April 29, 2015 – Independent research and knowledge translation projects supported through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s 2015-2016 Contributions Program will explore a wide range of emerging privacy issues, such as fitness tracking devices, lawful access and children and privacy policies.

“The projects selected this year will help build a greater understanding of new risks to privacy and also provide individuals and organizations with information about how to better protect personal information in a constantly evolving environment,” says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien.

The Commissioner also announced today that the Contributions Program has been renewed for another five years following an independent evaluation of the Program.

“The Contributions Program is considered to be one of the foremost privacy research funding programs in the world and has made a significant contribution to developing privacy knowledge in Canada and beyond. We are very pleased that the Program will continue to support this important work,” says Commissioner Therrien.

The Contributions Program funds not only research but also its application in ways that have a real impact of Canadians. Some examples of this year’s projects include:

Privacy and fitness tracking devices – This project will examine the relationship between the data collection and transmission practices of fitness tracking devices, the cloud services they integrate with, and how third parties may access their personal information from the providers of these services.

Lawful access – This project will explore the implications of the Edward Snowden revelations regarding the relationships between government signals intelligence authorities and private sector telecommunications companies over access to and sharing of metadata and private communications.

Helping young teens understand privacy policies – This initiative will involve the development of a bilingual, interactive web resource aimed at children ages 12‐14 that will help them understand online terms of use and privacy policies.

Children and mobile privacy – This research is aimed at helping to improve children’s understanding of mobile online privacy, enable them to recognize potentially risky situations, and empower them to better protect themselves.

Open data and privacy – This initiative will survey government open data portals and their exploitation by commercial private sector data analytic firms, and assess potential implications for Canadians’ privacy.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) received 39 proposals for the 2015-16 funding cycle of the Contributions Program. Those proposals were evaluated by the Privacy Commissioner’s Office, as well as an external peer review panel of privacy experts.

A full list of the 2015-16 Contributions Program recipients and their proposed projects is available on the OPC web site.

The Contributions Program was created in 2004 to support arm’s length, non-profit research on privacy, further privacy policy development, and promote the protection of personal information in Canada. Since then, the Program has allocated nearly $4.5 million to more than 100 initiatives.

About the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner enforces two laws for the protection of personal information: the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s federal private sector privacy law.

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For more information, please contact:

Valerie Lawton, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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