Effective Privacy Law Requires Penalties

Michael Geist has a column today “Canada’s Privacy Wake-Up Call” in which he follows up on the Macleans story about the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s phone records being stolen. (See my “Epic Problems With Phone Privacy.”)

Although major Canadian telecommunications providers such as Bell Canada sought to characterize themselves as “victims” of fraudulent activity and claim that a rapid response to the incident is proof that the Canada’ s privacy laws are working as intended, the reality is that Canadian law is simply ill-equipped to deal effectively with such incidents.

In light of the privacy breach, the public might naturally expect that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has the powers to address the issue. She does not.