Canada to Set Up Do-Not-Call Telemarketing List

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian families could soon enjoy a measure of peace and quiet at dinner time as the result of legislation introduced on Monday to limit the right of telemarketers to make unsolicited calls.

The new legislation would pave the way for a national do-not-call list, matching popular registries in the United States and Britain.

“We want to give Canadians an easy and effective way to protect their privacy and stop intrusive telemarketing,” Industry Minister David Emerson said in introducing the bill.

Currently, Canadian telemarketers must maintain individual do-not-call lists, but this requires people to add their names to potentially hundreds of separate lists. Monday’s bill would create one central registry.

The federal telecoms regulator will also consider whether to exclude certain types of calls, for example from charities and pollsters, from the national list.

In the United States, 60 million phone numbers have been placed on its do-not-call registry.

MORE NEWS:
Federal government introduces do-not-call bill
CTV.ca News Staff

Patriot Act poses greater risks than province states, says BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner

Lindsay Kines and Jeff Rud
Times Colonist

The USA Patriot Act poses a greater risk to Canadians’ personal information than earlier stated by the B.C. government, the province’s information and privacy commissioner said Friday.

David Loukidelis praised government for toughening B.C.’s privacy law, but said it needs to go further to prevent the FBI from using the Patriot Act to get its hands on British Columbians’ private medical or pharmaceutical information…

Darrell Evans, executive director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, called for a moratorium on contracting out government work to U.S.-linked companies until the B.C. and Canadian governments act on all 16 of Loukidelis’s recommendations.

“If all of these recommendations are implemented, it will provide an effective barrier to foreign laws,” he said. “But they’re like a piece and they’d all have to be implemented to be effective. Until then, we just don’t think the extra risk should be taken.”

LIST OF THE COMMISSIONER’S RECOMMENDATIONS, showing which have / have not been implemeted by the BC government

Complete Times-Colonist article

Information and Privacy Commissioner’s news release and report (See “What’s New”): http://www.oipcbc.org/

“Is Government Outsourcing a Threat to Privacy?” — FIPA submission to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC

Privacy Commissioner of Canada News Release:
The Privacy Commissioner commends the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner for furthering public debate on sharing of personal information about Canadians across borders
Right to Privacy Campaign

FIPA and a growing list of other groups– including some municipalities – are seeking to prevent the BC government from contracting out the administration of government services to foreign-owned corporations when it could violate the privacy rights of Canadian citizens.

Campaign website

U.S. corporation selected to manage BC Medical records actively promotes sharing of personal information with FBI

The US-based Maximus corporation, a subsidiary of which is poised to take over the administration of BC Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare, has publicly stated on its website that it’s an “…outreach company for homeland security [Act] information sharing.” This revelation has amplified the privacy concerns of groups opposed to the imminent contract.

[IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since this news item was posted on August 19, 2004, the “Homeland Security” page of the MAXIMUS website has been altered to delete the sentence, “Ongoing efforts are underway in several states to utilize MAXIMUS as the outreach company for homeland security information sharing” from the end of the second paragraph.]

According to the Right To Privacy Campaign (RPC), the Homeland Security and USA PATRIOT Acts are the foundations of the threat to British Columbians’ personal information once that information is in the hands of Maximus.

“We’re stunned that Maximus is an intimate partner in the Homeland Security apparatus,” said BC Civil Liberties Association Policy Director and RPC member Micheal Vonn. “If the Province was not aware of the link between Maximus and the US Homeland Security apparatus, then it did not do its homework. If it did know, then it has utterly failed to comprehend the magnitude of British Columbians’ concerns about their privacy.”

“The risk that the medical information of BC citizens could be disclosed to US intelligence authorities has just accelerated,” said Darrell Evans, FIPA Executive Director. “Maximus has revealed that it has a vested interest in disclosing any personal information it holds to the FBI and other US government agencies. In fact, it is actively promoting its role as a facilitator of this kind of information sharing.”

The Right to Privacy Campaign believes contracting out of the administrative functions of BC’s Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare to Maximus will place British Columbians’ confidential health information at risk of seizure by the FBI and, consequently, the American government.

The Homeland Security Act permits confidential information held by an American company or its affiliates obtained by the FBI through the USA PATRIOT Act to be entered into classified databanks. This information is then available to law enforcement and other agents of the American government. When the information is collected, individuals concerned are given no notice and are not permitted access.

The Right to Privacy Campaign is a group of organizations committed to stop the contracting out of information or information management to any company subject to foreign laws that violate the privacy rights of Canadians. More information on the campaign is available at http://www.righttoprivacycampaign.com.

Right to Privacy Campaign’ launched to protect individuals’ privacy by stopping Maximus deal

A diverse and growing group of rights, health, union and other organizations has launched a province-wide campaign to demand that the BC government drop its proposed deal with the Maximus corporation because of the privacy implications of the USA PATRIOT Act.

The Right to Privacy Campaign believes that contracting out the administrative functions of BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP) and PharmaCare to the American corporation Maximus Inc. will place British Columbians’ confidential health and related information within easy reach of the FBI and, through the FBI, the entire array of American government agencies.

Privacy Commissioner calls for submissions

BC’s Privacy Commissioner has launched a public inquiry to review the impact of the U.S. Patriot Act on government plans to contract out the MSP. He has invited submissions from American and Canadian experts and the general public and expects to issue his report by August 13, 2004. The Campaign is urging British Columbians to send submissions expressing their views about the Maximus deal.

News Release

Request for Submissions – Assessing USA Patriot Act Implications for Privacy Compliance under British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Campaign Goal

The primary goal of the Right to Privacy Campaign is to ensure that there is “no contracting out by the Government of BC of information or information management, such as MSP or PharmaCare, to any company subject to foreign laws that violate the privacy rights of Canadians, like the USA PATRIOT Act”.

“We are on the edge of a new and frightening era in which surveillance of citizens by governments and their private-sector partners could become the dominant reality of our society – in other words, an era in which Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’ vision could actually be realized,” said Darrell Evans, Executive Director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.

“Whether or not we go over that edge and create what has been called a “surveillance society” will depend on how willing citizens are to draw a line and say “no further” to government attempts to probe into and record the facts of our private lives.”

CITIZEN BULLETIN

The Right to Privacy Campaign website features information on the Privacy Commissioner’s inquiry, current legal actions, backgrounders, and suggested action steps for organizations and citizens. Included is a section with easy-to-follow suggestions for preparing a submission to the Privacy Commissioner.