BC FIPA Submission on Outsourcing Information Services to U.S. Providers and the USA PATRIOT ACT

BC FIPA presented its submission to the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC on the implications
for personal information of British Columbia residents involved in outsourcing of government services to U.S.-linked service providers in relation to the USA PATRIOT ACT.

In view of section 215 [of the USA PATRIOT ACT], it appears that outsourcing to U.S. linked service providers presents the risk of compelled disclosure of personal information, even when that information is stored in British Columbia, through an order of the secret FISA court.

Information relating to British Columbians could be the subject of an order even when no individual whose information is the subject of an order is suspected of a crime, provided that the information is certified by the FBI as sought for an authorised investigation seeking foreign intelligence information. This is an amorphous standard that has the potential to catch a wide range of information pertaining to any number of individuals.

[T]he Provincial Government should not be permitted to contract out a public service where to do so has any potential, even if unlikely, to place the service provider in a situation where it is confronted with a foreign legal obligation to disclose personal information contrary to the [Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act].

Read the submission and recommendations (pdf).