Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

5 Jan 2017

Privacy Tech-Know Blog Your Identity: Ways services can robustly authenticate you


Traditionally, we have logged into online systems using a username and password. These credentials are often being compromised, however, when databases containing them are breached or we are tricked into providing the information to fraudulent individuals or websites (often through phishing or other social engineering attacks). Once these credentials are compromised, attackers can use them to log into the associated online services. Even worse, because people often reuse their usernames and passwords, the attackers can access multiple services.

In order to better verify that it is actually you submitting the username and password, organizations are increasingly turning to multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires you to present multiple types of authenticating information, such as, for example, a username and password along with a unique code displayed on a token or smartphone. MFA can stymie attempts to log into a service by guessing your password or using stolen usernames and passwords. A related, less powerful technique is two-step verification which requires two pieces of information of the same kind of factor, such as two pieces of information that you know, while MFA requires you to present multiple types of authenticating information.

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29 Apr 2013

Grappling with the impact technology is having on privacy

This week is Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) – a global effort, coordinated by members of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA), to raise awareness about the value of privacy and the importance of protecting it.

For PAW 2013, APPA created an infographic that illustrates how technology has changed the way we communicate, do business and store information, and how this has introduced new privacy risks as a result.

It is an issue that many are thinking about. According to OPC’s recent survey, Canadians are increasingly anxious about their privacy in the face of new technology, and 70 per cent of them feel they have less protection of their personal information than they did 10 years ago. The research also indicates that Canadians avoid downloading apps or using certain websites and services due to privacy concerns.

What can we do?

It is true that consumers expect protections when they use products and services, but it is important to also realize that consumers have an important role to play and need to take an active approach when it comes to protecting their personal information. The best thing anyone can do, when using technology to collect or store personal information, is to understand the privacy risks that come with that technology. And here are some resources to help with that task:

Mobile App: We use our mobile devices to store a goldmine of personal information. To learn more about how to protect the personal information on your mobile device, download the OPC’s free myPRIVACYapp.

Video: Privacy and Social Networks: Do you know what happens to your personal information once you post it on to social networking sites? Watch this video that OPC created to understand how social networking sites make money off of your personal information. It may cause you to ask yourself some tough questions the next time you update your information online.

Infographic: 10 tips for preventing identity theft: Anyone who has personal information is at risk of identity theft, and the risks are higher now that we use technology for so many purposes. And while it’s impossible to entirely eliminate the risk of becoming a victim, it is possible to reduce it. The OPC’s infographic details 10 things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a target.

Introduction to Cloud Computing: When you store your photos online instead of on your home computer, or use webmail or a social networking site, you are using a “cloud computing” service. The OPC’s fact sheet explains the privacy implications of this.

For more information on the privacy risks that come with technology, and on how to protect yourself, visit the OPC’s page of fact sheets covering a range of issues and topics.

20 Feb 2013

Statement on the passing of Alan Westin

It is with sadness that we learned of the recent passing of Alan F. Westin.

Dr. Westin’s work had a profound influence on public law in the digital age in that it articulated privacy concepts in a way that speaks to the modern information society.

His pragmatic approach to addressing fundamental tensions between privacy and freedom in light of ever increasing surveillance powers and ever growing databases provided the necessary footing for some of the most important societal debates of our time.

May his legacy continue to be manifest in the work of privacy scholars, advocates, lawyers and policy-makers.

24 Jan 2012

New Tips and Tools to Help Your Young Internet Users Protect Their Privacy Online

We all know how savvy kids are with the Internet and online tools. Many of them are way ahead of adults in adapting to new technologies, making it difficult to keep up with them – let alone educate them on online privacy.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is here to help. Today, we launched a new video, tip sheet and presentation package  for youth in grades 7 and 8 (Secondary I and II in Quebec) that will help parents and teachers talk to youth about the importance of protecting their privacy online.

The new video speaks to teens and ‘tweens alike, and covers the key privacy concepts kids need to consider when sharing information online. The video may be viewed online or downloaded to support discussion.

The new tip sheet offers 12 practical tips for parents interested in discussing online privacy with their kids. The tips include simple ideas and advice that parents may use to limit risks to their children’s personal information, while allowing them to continue enjoying their time online.

The Grades 7 and 8 presentation package is the latest release in the Office’s Protecting Your Online Rep presentation series. The package includes slides, speaking notes and discussion topics for use by educators and community leaders to speak with young people about online privacy. The new presentation offers much of the practical privacy advice found in the presentation package for grades 9 to 12, which our Office launched last fall, only the graphics and speaking notes have been tailored to the social realities and online activities of younger students.

These tools are being launched this week as part of our Office’s week-long campaign leading up to Data Privacy Day. For more information on the Office’s Data Privacy Day activities and resources, go to

26 Sep 2011

Privacy: Let’s see what they think!

We’re launching our fourth annual My Privacy & Me Video Contest, where students aged 12 to 18 show us what they have to say about privacy.

To participate, we’re asking them to create their own video public service announcements about privacy issues related to any one of these four categories:

  • mobile devices;
  • social networking;
  • online gaming; or
  • cybersecurity.

All contest details can be found here.

Entries must be submitted by teams of one or two people. Schools may submit up to 10 different videos. (If a school has more than 10 videos to submit, we suggest a contest be held within the school to select the 10 best submissions for this contest).

First-place winners in each category will receive a $350 gift card, second-place winners will receive a $200 gift card, and third-place winners will win a $100 gift card. The deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 at noon ET.

For inspiration, we encourage teams to watch the 2010 winning videos. Then, power up their video cameras, and show us what they have to say!

19 Aug 2011


Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart today announced the addition of three new members to her Office’s External Advisory Committee.

The appointees bring to the committee further expertise in a range of areas, including the privacy implications related to online technologies and electronic commerce. The new members are:

  • Mark McArdle, a seasoned technology executive with more than 18 years of global product development experience, including over 10 years at McAfee Inc. in California; 
  • Loreena McKennitt, a self-managed Canadian singer/composer and successful business woman, who, through her independent record label, has won critical acclaim worldwide. In 2006, she was involved in a landmark human rights privacy case in Britain, where the courts ruled in her favour; and
  • Jean-François Renaud, associate founder of Adviso Consulting Inc., a company specializing in Internet strategy and web marketing

The 18-member External Advisory Committee is comprised of seasoned privacy experts and public sector scholars and practitioners, who provide expert advice on strategic directions for the Office.

For a complete list of members and to see our news release click here.

7 Feb 2011

Insights on Privacy – Alessandro Acquisti and Christena Nippert-Eng

On February 28, 2011, our Office is holding its second Insights on Privacy armchair discussion. We’ve invited behavioural economist Alessandro Acquisti and sociologist Christena Nippert-Eng to talk about what motivates us to reveal or conceal details of our personal lives, and how we protect the private lives of others around us.

In the context of their fields of privacy expertise, we will discuss how we represent ourselves both online and off and the implications of changing perceptions of public and private spaces. The discussion will extend to the challenges of maintaining a professional and personal presence online.

The Insights on Privacy Speakers’ Series is a series of armchair discussions hosted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to shed light on new and provocative voices doing interesting work in the field of privacy.

Alessandro Acquisti is an Associate Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. He is the co-director of the CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR), a member of Carnegie Mellon Cylab, and a fellow of the Ponemon Institute. His work investigates the economic and social impact of information technology, and in particular the economics and behavioural economics of privacy and information security, as well as privacy in online social networks.  He is co-editor the book Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices (2007), an analysis of state-of-the-art technologies, best practices, and research results, as well as legal, regulatory, and ethical issues.

Christena Nippert-Eng is Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Science and Letters at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her most recent book, Islands of Privacy: Selective Concealment and Disclosure in Everyday Life (2010) is an exploration of the ways we think about privacy on a daily basis – how we try to achieve it for ourselves and enable it for others. In addition to her work as the National Chair of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (2010-2011), Dr. Nippert-Eng conducts industrial research on people’s behaviour and relationships with objects and spaces, including information and communication technologies. She is currently at work on a second book on privacy and socialization.

To participate:

We are inviting full participation in this discussion. For those of you who attend the session in person, we will be inviting questions from the audience as well as inviting you to tweet the content using the #privtalks hashtag.

If you are unable to attend the session in person, and would like the speakers to address a particular aspect of this topic, please send your question to by February 24th and we will try to incorporate it in the issues we cover.

We will also be offering the audience members the opportunity to complete a voluntary survey to provide us with their views on some of the key questions in the discussion.

The video of this event will be made available after the event, as we did for the December 10, 2010 event with Jesse Hirsh and Chris Soghoian.

Space is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP before February 25, 2011. Simultaneous interpretation for both official languages will be available.

When: 2:00-4:00 p.m. Monday, February 28, 2011
Where: Minto Suites Hotel, 185 Lyon Street North, 2nd Floor, Salon Vanier/Stanley


8 Mar 2010

We have our winners!

Once again, students from the Encounters with Canada program have selected the winners of our annual student video contest! Here are the winners for our 2009 competition:

The three top video artists in the live action category were:

1st place: Jeffery Burge, Vanessa Caicedo, Alexandra Georgaras, Gareth Imrie and Fiona Sauder of Canterbury High School in Ottawa, Ontario, with a video titled “Think Before You Click”. They win a $100 gift card and an iPod Touch.

2nd place: David Borish and Mory Kaba of Glebe Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, with a video titled “Friend or Foe”. They win a $250 gift card.

3rd place: Jennifer Paul from Brampton, Ontario, with a video titled “Too Good to be True”. She wins a $150 gift card.

The three top video artists in the animation category were:

1st place: Tyler Ford and Matthew Kerr of Osgoode Township High School in Metcalfe, Ontario, with a video titled “Privacy: Think Before You Click”. They win a $100 gift card and an iPod Touch.

2nd place: Rebecca Kartzmart and Emily Patterson of Osgoode Township High School in Metcalfe, Ontario, with a video titled “Carol the Carrot”. They win a $250 gift card.

3rd place: Scott Piper of Osgoode Township High School in Metcalfe, Ontario, with a video titled “Privacy Matters”. He wins a $150 gift card.

The three top video artists in the French video category were:

1st place: Benjamin Dion-Weiss of l’École secondaire publique De La Salle in Ottawa, Ontario, with a video titled “Le réseautage social d’après le Comte Hackula”. He wins a $100 gift card and an iPod Touch.

2nd place: Stéphanie Lemieux and Emily Vendette of l’École secondaire catholique Embrun in Embrun, Ontario, with a video titled “Le Journal de Lisa”. They win a $250 gift card.

3rd place: Cosmo Darwin of l’École secondaire publique De La Salle in Ottawa, Ontario, with a video titled “Trouvée & Perdu”. He wins a $150 gift card.

The three top video artists in the Junior category were:

1st place: Mackenzie Giffen, Chris Johnstone, Chris Nattrass, Curtis Sookhoo and Gabriel Zingle of F.R. Haythorne Junior High in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with a video titled “The Spanish Lottery”. They win a $100 gift card and an iPod Touch.

2nd place: Trevor Aiello, Connor Bergersen, Chad Bullock and Lochlan Thomson of F.R. Haythorne Junior High in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with a video titled “A lesson In Privacy”. They win a $250 gift card.

3rd place: Matthew Craner, Scott Deshane, Madison Gilchrist, Joe Matishak and Graeme Wyatt of F.R. Haythorne Junior High in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with a video titled “The Phone Number Test”. They win a $150 gift card.

We also recognized seven teachers for their enthusiastic participation in the contest. They were:

  • Crystal Getschel, of F.R. Haythorne Junior High in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with 26 entries.
  • Majed Mattar, of Osgoode Township High School in Metcalfe, Ontario, with 21 entries.
  • Professor Kaduri, of Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, Ontario, with 15 entries.
  • Grant Holmes, of École secondaire publique De La Salle, Ottawa, Ontario, with 11 entries.
  • Carol Shaw, of Woodstock Collegiate Institute, Woodstock, Ontario, with 8 entries.
  • Kevin Shae, of Sir Robert Borden High School, Ottawa, Ontario with 6 entries.
  • Stephen Willcock, of Canterbury High School, Ottawa, Ontario, with 5 entries.

Each teacher will receive a $250 gift certificate at Indigo Books and Music to use for personal use or for the school they represent.

The videos will be posted as soon as possible to our youth site. They will also be available on our YouTube channel.

We were thrilled with the number and quality of submissions we received for our second competition. We’ll be launching the 2010 contest in May!

24 Dec 2009

Give your loved ones a little Privacy this holiday

Do your loved ones have toys on their wish lists this holiday? A stuffed animal for a little one… a cell phone or a camera for a teen? These days, these toys and gadgets are more than they used to be. Just a few years ago a stuffed animal was something to cuddle with and a phone was, well, just a phone! Now, many stuffed animals come with codes that allow kids to register them online so that they can play games, feed and care for them, and even chat and play with other kids. And many cellphones are phones, computers and cameras, all in one.

And while such toys and gadgets can be fun, we want people to enjoy them without putting their privacy and personal information at risk.

Here are our tips for protecting your privacy as you and your loved ones enjoy your new gadgets and toys. For parents especially:

Understand new toys and their capabilities – It is important to understand the capabilities of new toys and how your children will use them. Speak with your kids about how they will use the toy and, where appropriate, agree on guidelines and limits.

Pay attention to privacy settings and parental controls – Privacy settings on social networking sites control what people see about you. Only allow your friends to see your page, your posts, your photos and your applications. Parents, if you depend on parental control software that is installed on your desktop, remember that. Those controls won’t be in place on new mobile devices.

Remember, with Wi-Fi, children can access the Internet from anywhere in the house – And if their new toy/gadget has Internet capabilities they can also use it to access the Internet from locations and networks outside your supervision and control.

Here are our tips for protecting your privacy as you and your loved ones enjoy your new gadgets and toys. For everyone:

Think before you click – The Internet is a public arena, and photos and comments you post are permanent. Even if you delete them from a web page, they could continue to exist in archived pages, in your computer’s cache or on the computers of other Internet users who may have copied them. If you don’t want certain people to see something, now or in the future, don’t post it!

Pick and protect the perfect password – Your information is only as safe as your passwords. Use different passwords for different systems; make sure they are strong (eight characters or more and a variety of letters or numbers); never share them with anybody; and change them regularly.

Know your friends – Online, you can’t be 100 per cent sure who you are talking to. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life.

Protect your identity – Identity theft is a growing problem and the Internet is the least private of spaces. Don’t post or e-mail personal details such as your social insurance number, phone number, home address or birth date.

Be careful on online gaming sites – Online gaming sites are hotbeds of people accessing personal information. Be aware that ill-intentioned people can use information from your profile to establish accounts in your name, or use your stolen identity to access your existing accounts.

Be wary of e-mail or instant messages from unknown people – Don’t open online messages that seem odd or are from someone you don’t know. They could contain a virus or let a hacker gain access to your computer.

Have a happy holiday and enjoy all your new toys!