Read it now! The Connected Car: Who is in the Driver’s Seat? is available for download



The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) has released a year-long study on privacy, consumer choice and onboard vehicle technology. The Connected Car: Who is in the Driver’s Seat? was written by privacy lawyer Philippa Lawson and generously funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

The Connected Car: Who is in the Driver’s Seat? looks at how vehicles have changed from simple means of transportation to computers on wheels able to navigate, diagnose vehicle health, monitor driver behavior, accommodate usage-based insurance programs and provide customized on-board infotainment services.

The same technologies that allow for safer, more convenient and more entertaining cars enable the collection and processing of enormous amounts of data. Much of this data is personal information, and some of it reveals intensely private details of a person’s life. Some data can be used to track and profile customers for marketing and other purposes. The non-essential collection of data for data-mining and market research opens the door to a range of privacy risks that include security breaches, malicious access and state surveillance.

The Connected Car report finds that the usage-based insurance programs now offered in Ontario and Quebec generally comply with Canadian privacy law, but automakers providing Connected Car services are failing to meet their legal obligations. Too often, consumers are given limited choice when it comes to the use and disclosure of their personal data collected by Connected Cars. Click here to see a summary table of our privacy analysis.

Frequent Asked Questions

Recent polls show that Canadians are concerned about privacy in the context of Connected Cars. A March 2015 poll conducted for the Canadian Automobile Association found that 50% of respondents thought that Connected Car technologies put their privacy at risk while offering little benefit to consumers and only 28% thought benefits outweighed privacy risks. Only 37% of respondents would agree to monitoring in exchange for an insurance discount, while 53% would not. At 74%, most respondents thought car makers should be required to design technology that would mean consumers wouldn’t have to choose between the benefits of technology and protecting privacy.

The good news is that Connected Cars are still at a stage in their development where there’s time to address these privacy challenges. With Connected Cars set to dominate North American markets in the coming years, now is the time to get serious about setting industry standards and putting them in place. FIPA looks forward to working with automakers, technology firms, policy makers, the insurance sector, government and the public is bringing these report recommendations to life:

  1. Establishing data protection regulations for the Connected Car industry.
  2. Developing Canada-wide data protection standards for usage-based insurance.
  3. Involving privacy experts in the design stage of Intelligent Transportation Systems, including Connected Vehicle research projects.
  4. Adopting Privacy by Design Principles and Related Tools, including:
  • Establishing a Privacy Management Program
  • Identifying and Avoiding Unintended Uses
  • Being Open and Transparent
  • Respect for User Privacy: Keep it User-Centric
  • Working with device manufacturers, OS / Platform Developers, Network Providers, Application Developers, Data Processors to integrate controls and data minimization techniques.

There has never been a better time to put privacy protection in your driveway.



Access in the Academy: Now Available!

The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association is extremely pleased to announce the official release of our brand new educational resource: Access in the Academy: Bringing ATI and FOI to academic research.

The text is now available for download by donation through our website here. We also have a limited number of print copies still available by request. If you are a faculty member, represent a university library, or any other institution that provides public legal education services and would like a hard copy, please get in touch with Catherine Hart at catherine [at] with the details of your request.

FIPA would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Law Foundation of British Columbia whose Small Projects Grants program made this new resource possible. We would also like to thank Mike Larsen (our lead researcher and author) and our outstanding review team, without whose extremely hard work, Access in the Academy would simply not exist.

With that, it’s our great pleasure to invite you to download the text today and spread the word to your colleagues, students, and instructors. We’d also like to take this opportunity to invite you to make a contribution to FIPA in exchange for the resource. As a small non-profit, it’s the support of our community that makes our public legal education programs possible. There is no minimum contribution–every bit helps.

Thank you very much, and we hope you enjoy Access in the Academy!

New FIPA eBook takes freedom of information to school

In anticipation of the 2013 academic year, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, with the generous support of the Law Foundation of British Columbia, is excited to announce the upcoming release of Access in the Academy: Bringing ATI and FOI to Academic Research, available for download starting July 25th.

Compiled by Mike Larsen, Instructor in the Department of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and co-editor of Brokering Access: Power, Politics, and Freedom of Information Process in Canada (UBC Press, 2012), Access in the Academy is one of the first resources of its kind available to academic researchers in Canada.

Although they offer a unique ‘backstage’ look at how, and more importantly why, information becomes (or doesn’t become) public knowledge, ATI and FOI mechanisms remain a rarity in the university classroom. Access in the Academy seeks to change that by exploring ATI/FOI practices as rich sites of data and information gathering for academic researchers. The text demonstrates how patterns of disclosure, secrecy, delay and exemption tell compelling stories of policy formation and message control, ultimately revealing what’s at stake when governments act.

By combining legal reviews of British Columbian and Canadian access legislation with theoretical perspectives on “the politics and ethics of secrecy and revelation,” and plenty of tips for building successful access requests into research designs, Access in the Academy provides readers a lucid, comprehensive, and highly practical introduction to the world of ATI and FOI. Researchers in fields as diverse as political science, criminology, journalism, communication, public policy, labour studies, sociology, anthropology, and library and information sciences will find it a valuable complement to other methods texts.

FIPA is proud to offer this unique resource to the community by donation. It will be available for download through our website,, starting July 25, 2013. But if you represent an institution (a university library, or other public legal education group) and would like to request a copy of our limited-run print edition, please send your request to the contact information below.

FIPA would like to acknowledge the support of the Law Foundation of British Columbia in bringing this project to fruition. Their commitment to advancing the cause of public legal education throughout British Columbia made this project possible.

For more information on Access in the Academy, to request a print copy, or to learn how you can support FIPA’s other public legal education programs, contact Tyler Morgenstern at tyler [at]

Medical Privacy: New website will help public navigate mounting confusion over health privacy rights in BC

FIPA has created a website called “Health Information Privacy in British Columbia” to fill a serious lack of information available to the public about their health privacy rights as the province moves toward a universal system of government-
controlled electronic health records.

British Columbia has launched a multi-million dollar program to create an electronic health record for every person in British Columbia who receives health care services. The resulting system will be the most ambitious program of personal information
aggregation and sharing ever created in BC. It will radically change the way personal health information is accessed, managed and disclosed, and fundamentally affect everyone’s privacy rights regarding their most sensitive personal information.

The transformation to e-Health is being promoted by a government-funded advertising campaign but with very little information about how it will affect privacy rights.

The Health Information Privacy website will help fill that gap, providing basic information about:

  • how the privacy laws in B.C. work,
  • where personal health information flows within the health system,
  • when you can block people from seeing your health information, and
  • what health care providers in B.C. are allowed to do with personal health information.

Read the full news release