2018: The Year of Drake and Privacy

Image credit:  thecomeupshow  [ CC BY 2.0 ]

Image credit: thecomeupshow [CC BY 2.0]

While 2018 may seem like a distant memory, a simpler time when we would spend our days listening to Drake and our evenings dreaming that maybe, just maybe, the Raptors would make an appearance in the NBA finals. 

2018 wasn’t just the year of Drake. The Ontario Privacy Commissioner has released their 2018 Annual Report, which illustrates a few key updates of interest.

Firstly, the Province saw a 21% increase in Provincial privacy complaints. This increase from 2017 shows that people and businesses are starting to take data Privacy seriously and we can expect that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner will be streamlining their processes to accommodate for the increase in the complaints.

Surveillance is becoming more common in both the public and private sectors and in 2018 the Officer of the Privacy Commissioner intervened in a City of Hamilton proposal to relax their by-laws and allow homeowners to record video surveillance of the sidewalks in front of their homes. The change was quashed due to a concern that cameras would collect and retain personal information in a public space without consent. With surveillance on the rise, it is important that those who surveil consider what they are collecting, how long they are retaining the data, and, if the subjects are in the public space, how they are ensuring that consent is given to collect personal information.

The frequency of Ransomware attacks also increased in 2018 and municipalities saw the greatest increase in reported breaches, in part, because of the importance of the data they manage and the lack of funding they receive to modernize IT security. In previous blog posts we have written on ransomware attacks and the Commissioner, in his report, has reminded us that they also provide guidance on how to mitigate breaches.

It is clear from the report that data privacy is becoming a key consideration for individuals and businesses in Ontario. Check out the full report for more statistics and to learn more about the work the Office of the Privacy Commissioner undertook in 2018.

David Spence