Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



Canada's Privacy Commissioner Issues Report Facebook Needs to Improve Privacy Practices

On July 16, 2009, Canada's Privacy Commissioner issued a news release entitled " facebook needs to improve privacy practices, investigation finds". A copy of the news release may be found at the following link - http://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2009/nr-c_090716_e.cfm

An investigation was commenced after a complaint by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. The complaint focused on privacy gaps in the operations of Facebook.

The Privacy Commissioner's has issued a report and has agreed that there are legitimate privacy concerns in the way Facebook operates and makes recommendations on how to strengthen privacy protections. The report may be found at the following link - http://www.priv.gc.ca/cf-dc/2009/2009_008_0716_e.cfm

This issue is raised on Trade Lawyers Blog because domestic privacy laws may be a non-tariff barrier and prevent trade in services, such as the social networking services provided by Facebook. This issue will increasingly become more important at social media rapidly develops as a medium for people to connect internationally.

Companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking media will have investigate local laws in the jurisdictions in which they seek users. In some cases, such as in Canada, subnational laws will also need to be investigated. further, the companies will need to take steps to comply with local laws and to monitor changes to local laws.

It is important to understand that under Canadian law, if the recommendations of the Privacy Commissioner are ignored, the Privacy Commissioner may bring an action to the Federal Court of Canada to have her recommendations enforced.

For more information, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168.

 

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