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On August 14th, CCLA made submissions to the Special Committee to Review BC’s Personal Information Protection Act. Although previous committee reviews have generated substantial recommendations, none of these recommendations have been implemented so far. As the Act now approaches its 20th anniversary, CCLA made its submissions both with an eye to repairing the law’s defects and an eye for how it could be supplemented to meet the privacy challenges of the next two decades. CCLA believes that the first step in re-imagining British Columbia’s private sector privacy regime is to strengthen PIPA’s commitment to privacy as a human right. This is especially important in contexts where individuals often have far less power than the companies with which they interact, whether the individuals be consumers, contractors, or employees. A human rights framework would give BC the right legal and analytical lens with which to frame the privacy challenges of today and tomorrow. 

 CCLA also made various recommendations with respect to the collection of biometric data, the use of artificial intelligence in decision-making, about what it means to ‘de-identify’ personal information, and privacy protections for vulnerable groups—especially young people. Young people and children are perennially underserved by privacy law and in a time when so many children browse the internet and log onto their phones using facial recognition technology, BC must aim to be ahead of the curve. One of our most important recommendations also has to do with how we understand the role of ‘consent’ in negotiating the boundaries of personal privacy. Consent is a principled concept that has a critical place in contemporary privacy law. Any framework for consent should therefore be principled, clear, and made with an eye to protecting the rights of individuals and marginalized groups. 

About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

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