Update: Facebook

OpenMedia r1

Hi, Paov, I just wanted to update you about what’s been happening in the fight for Canadian privacy since... news of the Facebook data scandal broke.

Over 5,000 people have already added their names to our petition for long-overdue reform of Canada’s privacy laws. Among other issues, our Privacy Commissioner has no power to issue fines or force compliance with our data privacy laws, which means companies will keep getting away with this unless we make strong reforms.1

With news of major data breaches coming almost every day now, we need our government to step up and protect us. Will you join the campaign?


Our politicians are already bowing to pressure and moving towards meeting the public’s demands:

  • The government has just pushed forward mandatory data-breach disclosure rules that have been been delayed for nearly three years.2
  • Our Privacy Commissioner has launched an investigation to find out if the data of any Canadians were compromised.3
  • The acting Democratic Institutions Minister has publicly stated that he would be open to making changes to Canada’s privacy laws.4
  • Canada’s political parties have been facing media scrutiny over their own exemption from privacy laws.5

Let’s make sure we use this huge momentum to finally secure real action to protect our privacy.


Thank you again,
Victoria with OpenMedia

My original email is below.

[1] No Longer Fit for Purpose: Why Canadian Privacy Law Needs an Update: Michael Geist
[2] Feds to enforce mandatory data breach disclosure rules on Nov. 1: iPolitics
[3] Facebook breach a sign Canadian laws need revamp: privacy commissioner: CBC
[4] NDP Wants Trudeau To Raise Facebook Data Scandal At G7: Huffington Post
[5] Canada’s federal political parties purchase data, too: The Star


Paov, if you feel concerned about the implications of the Facebook data scandal, you’re not alone.

The revelations have exposed so much more than just how Cambridge Analytica was able to inappropriately collect information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users.

It has shown the world the incredible scale of how social media companies and data brokers are harvesting and exploiting the private social media activity of millions of people around the world.1

And it’s shown us something else: how Canada’s shockingly out-of-date privacy laws have failed to protect us, and how they have no power to help us prevent something like this from happening again.2

Despite years of recommendations, our government has stalled on implementing key fixes that could give our laws the teeth they need to take action on this, like an end to political parties being exempt from privacy laws, and actual powers to enforce compliance orders.


The law that governs our private data is called PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act). It governs how private companies collect and use our personal information.

But when violations are found, our laws are toothless: the act gives no power for our Privacy Commissioner to issue penalties or force compliance. This means that companies have no incentive to comply, and if caught, suffer no real consequences.3

What’s more, our own political parties are exempt from key privacy laws. This certainly leaves Canadians wondering if our own government is acting with our best interests in mind, especially after it was revealed that the Liberal party paid $100,000 to the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower in 2016.4

These are just a few examples of where our privacy laws are falling short. We need a firm commitment, in light of this most recent data scandal, to make long-overdue reforms to our privacy laws.


What this scandal has really highlighted is how aggressive business models built on data harvesting, combined with deceptive marketing which misleads users about their privacy options, leads to disturbing privacy violations like this.

Some are quick to say that ordinary people should ‘know better’ or that this is simply the cost of being online today. But we believe that people deserve better than this. It is the opposite of a free and open internet, and we deserve our government to take the necessary steps to protect us.

There’s huge momentum around this issue right now, and if we can harness it, we have the best chance we’ve had in a decade to bring Canada’s privacy protections up to date. I hope you can be a part of it!


Thanks again for all you do!

Victoria with OpenMedia

PS The Facebook data scandal is just the tip of the iceberg – and without changes to our laws, it will almost certainly happen again. We’ll need expert advice and strong legal and public pressure to make sure we lock in these long-overdue changes. Can you help by r32 If you no longer wish to receive these r46 to unsubscribe.

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