Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Privacy Commissioner Tables 2011-2012 Annual Report on Privacy Act

Last week, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, tabled her annual report to Parliament on the Privacy Act.

The Act covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies

Stoddart outlined a number of issues:
  • her office accepted 986 complaints in 2011-12, a 39 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.  The period also saw reported data breaches within federal organizations reach an all-time high of 80.  However, because data breach notification within the federal government is voluntary, it’s unclear whether this statistic represents an actual increase in privacy breaches or more diligent reporting by departments
  • there is a worrisome increase in delayed responses from organizations to individuals seeking personal information held about them, along with greater delays in responding to requests by people seeking access to their personal information
  • an audit of Veterans Affairs Canada found that the department had responded to earlier complaints about the inappropriate sharing of sensitive medical information by employees. The department has reviewed access rights to veterans’ electronic records and removed privileges outright for some 500 employees while reducing them for 95 percent of others. Investments have also been made in monitoring access to files, educating employees, and developing new policies, procedures and guidelines to respect privacy
  •  the annual report also contains findings from numerous investigations into privacy complaints against other federal organizations, including Correctional Services Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:06 pm

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