On January 26, 2018, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) published the Draft OPC Position on Online Reputation (the Draft Policy). The OPC published the Draft Policy to further pursue its goal to “create an environment where individuals may use the Internet to explore their interests and develop as persons without fear that their digital trace will lead to unfair treatment.” In the Draft Policy, the OPC seeks to balance freedom of expression and the privacy interests of individuals.
The Draft Policy focuses on three solutions that the OPC asserts will help Canadians better protect their online reputation as follows.
The OPC is of the view that the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) applies to search engines, and therefore individuals should be allowed to challenge the accuracy, completeness or currency of any personal information displayed in search results. Thus, if an individual successfully challenges a search result based on PIPEDA principles, then the relevant information should be de-indexed by the search engine.
An individual can withdraw his or her consent for the source of the information to collect, use and disclose their personal information. Thus, an individual should have the ability to remove information that he or she has posted online through a “source takedown” request.
Privacy education will help inform individuals of reputational risks and privacy protections that are available to them. For this reason, the OPC has sent a joint letter to the Canadian Council of Ministers of Education to include privacy education as a component in digital literacy curricula across Canada.
The OPC is accepting stakeholders’ perspectives on the Draft Policy until April 19, 2018. After the consultation period, the OPC will finalize its position and develop a plan to implement the Draft Policy.
Summary By: Michael House
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