A sickening side-effect of the eHealth revolution

Globe and Mail – The digital revolution is poised to transform Canadian health care, promising more timely access to doctors and streamlined service that is expected to improve the patient experience while reducing waste and unnecessary testing.

But the technological changes – from an app that connects surgical patients to their doctors, wherever they are, to the dream of a single electronic health record a patient has for life – also come with a downside: the possible breach of privacy.

Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian says she is a huge supporter of electronic health records but stressed they must be done in a secure manner, adding that nothing deserves greater protection than a patient’s medical information. For the rest of the story see Globe and Mail

Canada ‘selling’ its sovereignty under proposed border deal with USA

Vancouver Sun – OTTAWA — The author of a report criticizing Canada’s anticipated trade and security agreement with the United States says Canada is “selling” its sovereignty with no guarantee of a reduction of red tape at the border for Canadian business.

On Wednesday, Gar Pardy spoke about his report for the Rideau Institute called Shared Vision or Myopia: The Politics of Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, offering a scathing rebuke of the proposed cross-border agreement with the U.S.

The federal government says the deal, expected to be made official within weeks, will result in an increase in perimeter security and will ease trade with our neighbours to the south.

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PIPEDA amendments broaden powers of Privacy Commissioner

Office of the Privacy Commissioner – The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is the federal privacy law for the private sector. It applies to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by an organization in the course of commercial activity.

In December 2010, Parliament passed amendments to the legislation, which was originally passed in 2000. The amendments, which were included in legislation to curb unwanted commercial solicitation by e-mail or other electronic formats (also known as spam), also broaden certain powers of the Privacy Commissioner.

In particular, the amendments give the Commissioner more discretion over which complaints she undertakes or completes. The change will permit the Office to maximize the use of its resources when investigating complaints that allege contraventions of PIPEDA. For instance, the Commissioner can decline to investigate a complaint that could more appropriately be dealt with through other avenues.

Under the amendments, the Commissioner is also empowered to share information related to an investigation with counterparts in the provinces or abroad. The objective is to facilitate investigations that have inter-provincial or international implications.

Most of the amendments were proclaimed into force on April 1, 2011. However, the amended sections 7.1, 12(2), 12.2(2) and 20(6) will only come into force as part of the overall anti-spam law.