Privacy concerns exist wherever personally identifiable information is collected and stored - in digital form or otherwise. Improper or non-existent disclosure control can be the root cause for privacy issues. Data privacy issues can arise in response to information from a wide range of sources, such as:
The challenge in data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information. The fields of data security and information security design and utilize software, hardware and human resources to address this issue.
The ability to control what information one reveals about oneself over the Internet, and who can access that information, has become growing concerns. These concerns include whether email can be stored or read by third parties without consent, or whether third parties can track the web sites someone has visited. Another concern is whether web sites which are visited collect, store, and possibly share personally identifiable information about users.
A person may not wish for their medical records to be revealed to others. This may be because they have concern that it might affect their insurance coverages or employment. Or it may be because they would not wish for others to know about medical or psychological conditions or treatments which would be embarrassing. Revealing medical data could also reveal other details about one's personal life (such as about one's sexual activity for example).
Physicians and psychiatrists in many cultures and countries have standards for doctor-patient relationships which include maintaining confidentiality. In some cases the physician-patient privilege is legally protected. These practices are in place to protect the dignity of patients, and to ensure that patients will feel free to reveal complete and accurate information required for them to receive the correct treatment.
PIPEDA specifies the rules to govern collection, use or disclosure of the personal information in the course of recognizing the right of privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information. It also specifies the rules for the organizations to collect, use, and disclose personal information.
The PIPEDA apply to:
The PIPEDA Does NOT apply to
As specified in PIPEDA:
"Personal Information" means nformation about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization.
"Organization"means an association, a partnership, a person and a trade union.
"federal work, undertaking or business" means any work, undertaking or business that is within the legislative authority of Parliament. Including
The PIPEDA gives individuals the right to:
The PIPEDA requires organizations to:
Any state interference with a person's privacy is only acceptable for the Court if three conditions are fulfilled:
The government is not the only entity which may pose a threat to data privacy. Other citizens, and private companies most importantly, engage in far more threatening activities, especially since the automated processing of data became widespread. The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data was concluded within the Council of Europe in 1981. This convention obliges the signatories to enact legislation concerning the automatic processing of personal data, which many duly did.
As all the member states of the European Union are also signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, the European Commission was concerned that diverging data protection legislation would emerge and impede the free flow of data within the EU zone. Therefore the European Commission decided to harmonize data protection regulation and proposed the Directive on the protection of personal data, which member states had to transpose into law by the end of 1998.
The directive contains a number of key principles which must be complied with. Anyone processing personal data must comply with the eight enforceable principles of good practice. They state that the data must:
Personal data covers both facts and opinions about the individual. It also includes information regarding the intentions of the data controller towards the individual, although in some limited circumstances exemptions will apply. With processing, the definition is far wider than before. For example, it incorporates the concepts of 'obtaining', 'holding' and 'disclosing'.
All EU member states adopted legislation pursuant this directive or adapted their existing laws. Each country also has its own supervisory authority to monitor the level of protection.
In Switzerland, the right to privacy is guaranteed in article 13 of the Swiss Federal Constitution. The Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance (DPO) entered into force on July 1, 1993. The latest amendments of the DPA and the DPO entered into force on January 1, 2008.
The DPA applies to the processing of personal data by private persons and federal government agencies. Unlike the data protection legislation of many other countries, the DPA protects both personal data pertaining to natural persons and legal entities
The Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner in particular supervises compliance of the federal government agencies with the DPA, provides advice to private persons on data protection, conducts investigations and makes recommendations concerning data protection practices.
Some data files must be registered with the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner before they are created. In the case of a transfer of personal data outside of Switzerland, special requirements need to be met and, depending on the circumstances, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner must be informed before the transfer is made
Most Swiss cantons have enacted their own data protection laws regulating the processing of personal data by cantonal and municipal bodies.
The safe harbor arrangement was developed by the US Department of Commerce in order to provide a means for US companies to demonstrate compliance with European Commission directives and thus to simplify relations between them and European businesses.
The program has an important issue on the exchange of Passenger Name Record information between the EU and the US. According to the EU directive, personal data may only be transferred to third countries if that country provides an adequate level of protection. Some exceptions to this rule are provided, for instance when the controller himself can guarantee that the recipient will comply with the data protection rules.
The European Commission has set up the "Working party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data," commonly known as the "Article 29 Working Party". The Working Party gives advice about the level of protection in the European Union and third countries.
The Working Party negotiated with U.S. representatives about the protection of personal data, the Safe Harbor Principles were the result. Notwithstanding that approval, the self assessment approach of the Safe Harbor remains controversial with a number of European privacy regulators and commentators.
The Safe Harbor program addresses this issue in a unique way: rather than a blanket law imposed on all organisations in the US, a voluntary program is enforced by the FTC. US organisations which register with this program, having self-assessed their compliance with a number of standards, are "deemed adequate" for the purposes of Article 25. Personal information can be sent to such organisations from the EEA without the sender being in breach of Article 25 or its EU national equivalents. The Safe Harbor was approved as providing adequate protection for personal data, for the purposes of Article 25(6), by the European Commission on 26 July 2000.
The Safe Harbor is not a perfect solution to the challenges posed by Article 25. In particular, adoptee organisations need to carefully consider their compliance with the onward transfer obligations, where personal data originating in the EU is transferred to the US Safe Harbor, and then onward to a third country). The alternative compliance approach of "Binding Corporate Rules" , recommended by many EU privacy regulators, resolves this issue. In addition, any dispute arising in relation to the transfer of HR data to the US Safe Harbor must be heard by a panel of EU privacy regulators.
In July 2007, a new, controversial , Passenger Name Record agreement between the US and the EU was undersigned. A short time afterwards, the Bush administration gave exemption for the Department of Homeland Security, for the Arrival and Departure System (ADIS) and for the Automated Target System from the 1974 Privacy Act .
In February 2008, Jonathan Faull, the head of the EU's Commission of Home Affairs, complaigned about the US bilateral policy concerning PNR . The US had signed in February 2008 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Czech Republic in exchange of a VISA waiver scheme, without concerting before with Brussels . The tensions between Washington and Brussels are mainly caused by a lesser level of data protection in the US, especially since foreigners do not benefit from the US Privacy Act of 1974. Other countries approached for bilateral MOU included the United Kingdom, Estonia, Germany and Greece .
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