Teresa Scassa - Blog

Journalistic Purposes and Private Sector Data Protection Legislation: Blogs, Tweets, and Information Maps” (2010) 35 Queen’s Law J. 733-781

This paper explores how changes in the ways in which information is consumed and disseminated by myriad individuals in myriad forms may impact data protection law in Canada. The author uses examples of blogs, Twitter and information maps to illustrate the problems which will inevitably arise when trying to discern which individuals and which information will properly fit into the journalistic purposes exception in Canadian data protection statutes. She suggests that exceptions for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information for journalistic purposes raise vital questions pertaining to the purpose and scope of these exceptions. Recent case law serves to illustrate the difficulties faced by decision-makers in defining the scope of these exceptions, particularly given the need to balance the public right to be informed with individual privacy rights. The author considers the journalistic purposes exceptions in light of the role of journalists by analyzing how reporters’ privilege cases, defamation law (“responsible journalism”) and ethical codes of conduct might affect and inform current Canadian case law. She compares how journalistic purpose exceptions are configured and applied in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the conclusion, the author considers the direction that data protection law in Canada should take. She suggests that a reasonableness test, which attempts to balance the various conflicting interests, should govern decisions on whether information is being provided for a journalistic purpose or for some “other” purpose.

 

 

This paper explores how changes in the ways in which information is consumed and disseminated by myriad individuals in myriad forms may impact data protection law in Canada. The author uses examples of blogs, Twitter and information maps to illustrate the problems which will inevitably arise when trying to discern which individuals and which information will properly fit into the journalistic purposes exception in Canadian data protection statutes. She suggests that exceptions for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information for journalistic purposes raise vital questions pertaining to the purpose and scope of these exceptions. Recent case law serves to illustrate the difficulties faced by decision-makers in defining the scope of these exceptions, particularly given the need to balance the public right to be informed with individual privacy rights. The author considers the journalistic purposes exceptions in light of the role of journalists by analyzing how reporters’ privilege cases, defamation law (“responsible journalism”) and ethical codes of conduct might affect and inform current Canadian case law. She compares how journalistic purpose exceptions are configured and applied in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the conclusion, the author considers the direction that data protection law in Canada should take. She suggests that a reasonableness test, which attempts to balance the various conflicting interests, should govern decisions on whether information is being provided for a journalistic purpose or for some “other” purpose.

Published in Refereed Articles

“Geographic Information as Personal Information”, (2010) 10:2 Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 185-214

The rapid proliferation of applications using geographical information combined with the growing accessibility of vast quantities of data of all kinds has given rise to the mapping of information on an unprecedented scale. Information maps are created by governments, private sector actors, and even by individuals; they may be sole-authored or crowd-sourced. These maps are frequently made available over the internet. Information maps have a serious potential to impact on personal privacy. This paper gives an overview of developments in the mapping of information. It then explores a key question in the data protection context: when is geographical information personal information? Particular challenges in answering this question include the way in which geographical information may be a key to re-identifying de-identified data, and how it can be used to link aggregate geodemographic data to specific individuals.

Published in Refereed Articles

“Privacy by the Wayside: The New Information Superhighway, Data Privacy, and the Deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems”, (2011) 74 University of Saskatchewan Law Review 117-164 (with Jennifer Chandler and Elizabeth F. Judge)

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) integrate vehicles and surface transportation infrastructure with information, communication, and sensory technologies to improve the safety, efficiency, security, service, accessibility, environmental responsibility, and reliability of the transportation system. The term ITS covers a very broad range of transport-related activities involving federal, provincial, and municipal governments as well as private sector actors. In its broadest sense, ITS enables an integrated and intelligent network of services for both public and private transportation systems. In this article, we discuss the data protection and privacy issues raised by the use of ITS in Canada.  We begin with an overview identifying the central privacy issues that arise with ITS. We then provide an introduction to the legal and institutional privacy framework in Canada. This is followed by a closer analysis of Canada’s data protection regimes and their application to ITS. 

Published in Refereed Articles
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 11:47

Data Protection, Privacy and Spatial Data

“Data Protection, Privacy and Spatial Data”, in R. Devillers & H. Goodchild, eds. Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Spatial Data Quality, Taylor & Francis, 2009, pp. 211-220 (with Lisa Campbell)

In this paper, we explore the extent to which spatial data may be considered personal information for the purposes of data protection and privacy law. While data quality is an important objective in the creation of spatial data applications, we demonstrate that even relatively low quality spatial data may attract the application of data protection or privacy law, particularly when it is matched or combined with other data sets. The rapid development of a variety of applications and tools that incorporate spatial data pose significant privacy law challenges both for individuals and for the developers and users of these tools.

Published in Refereed Book Chapters
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Canadian Trademark Law

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