Saturday, June 02, 2012

Changes to Privacy Rights of Citizens of BC

Why did the BC Liberal government move so quickly to ram through poorly thought out changes to BC's privacy laws? Who benefits and who doesn't?

BC Freedom of Information & Privacy Association, June 1st, 2012 11:30am

There has been a lot of discouraging news on the FOI and privacy front recently as a raft of new legislation introduced in the last couple of weeks undercuts the law protecting our FOI and privacy rights.

All four bills have been criticized by provincial Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham in an unprecedented barrage of letters from her office. Yet her concerns, along with those raised by FIPA and others, have fallen on deaf ears. Questions about why changes to institutions like PharmaCare require an expansion in the government’s ability to collect, use, and disclose sensitive personal information, similarly, have gone unanswered.

FIPA has just sent a letter to Premier Clark asking why her government feels it necessary to undertake this piecemeal repeal of the information rights of British Columbians. The full text of that letter can be downloaded as a PDF here.

For some background on the controversy that has arisen over this legislation, and what FIPA has been saying about it, check out the following links:

BILL 35:
Drug bill includes personal information grab: advocate, from The Tyee
Bill easing research access to ehealth data sparks privacy fears, from The Vancouver Sun

BILL 37:
BC commissioner critical of animal health secrecy measures, from The Tyee
Government Moving to Keep Farm Disease Outbreaks Secret, from The Tyee

BILL 39:
New Bills Smack of Big Brother, from The Times Colonist

BILL 47:
Elizabeth Denham’s letter to Minister Lekstrom regarding Bill 47, Coastal Ferries Amendment Act

Christy Clark repealing transparency and privacy rights: FIPA, from The Tyee