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May 03, 2000

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Privacy Bill Will Spur More Protection In Private Sector

The recent passage of Bill C-6 in the House of Commons will likely prompt provincial governments to step up consultation with the private sector over privacy protection, says political scientist Dr. Colin Bennett. "The bill is based on the premise that if an individual gives private information, it's for a specific purpose and if an organization or business wants to use that information for another purpose it must first get consent." The bill will automatically apply in provincial jurisdictions within three years unless provincial governments pass their own privacy legislation.
"I think you will see increasing consultation with the private sector by provinces which do not want to concede to federal jurisdiction in the area of privacy protection."
Bennett says businesses such as insurance and telephone companies and banks--any business that transfers personal information commercially over international or interprovincial borders--will be affected by the new legislation, which is expected to become law early in the new year. Bennett is the co-editor, with Dr. Rebecca Grant (business) of Visions for Privacy: Policy Choices for the Digital Age. One of the themes in this collection of essays is that comprehensive privacy legislation is essential in order to protect the collection, use and dissemination of citizens' personal information.
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Currently on leave from UVic's department of political science, Dr. Colin Bennett is a Fellow in the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He can be contacted at 617-496-0104 or by email at cjb@uvic.ca

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