Four months after the publication of Database Nation, the national government of Canada passed comprehensive legislation protecting the privacy rights of its citizens. Called "C-6," but also known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act , the legislation mandates certain rules that Canada's businesses must follow when collecting and processing personal information. Today, C-6 applies only to federally regulated Canadian businesses such as banks and insurance companies, but in three years the law will be extended to cover businesses regulated by Canada's provinces as well.
Much of the attention to privacy issues over the past year has focused on the Internet. But the Canadian law applies to all data collection activities, whether or not they occur online. And that's the way it should be, said Canadian M.P. John Cannis, one of the law's proponents. Speaking just before the legislation's passage this spring, Cannis, who is also parliamentary secretary to the minister of industry, said:
In order for Canada to become a leader in the knowledge-based economy and in electronic commerce, consumers and businesses must be comfortable with the new technologies and with the impact that these technologies will have on their lives. Canadians want to know that their transactions are private and secure, that legal and financial networks exist to support transactions, and that the information infrastructure works.
The legislation creates ...