Crackdown on Illegal Downloads in Canada Threatens Private User Data


On April 8, Canada’s senators introduced Bill S-4, also known as the Digital Privacy Act, and it has privacy advocates on edge.

The legislation’s stated purpose is to tighten “regulations on the steps that companies need to take if security breaches compromise their users’ personal information,” but the middle of this legislation is more controversial.

At present, companies are only allowed to share the private data of their users with government or police while they investigate a crime.

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If S-4 becomes law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) would permit companies to share private information with other companies if they believe fraud has occurred, or if there has been a breach of agreement.

Critics say that the bill is a “carte blanche,” and that it would allow companies to secretly exchange information without ever having to appear before a judge. Also according to critics, the bill is a “marked shift” from the “deregulated environment that once made Canada a dreamland for open internet activists.”

This legislation is also reviving controversy regarding the C-30 cyberbullying bill, as the new “investigative powers” in the S-4 bill would give the government the power to crack down on cyberbullying.

The bill remains tabled in the Senate, and the date is not set for discussion by members of parliament.

Source: National Post.

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