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CANADA'S PRIVACY LAW IMPACTS FOREIGN FIRMS

Source: Newsbytes

Posted on January 11, 2001

      A tough new Canadian law regarding online privacy enacted in January will impact American and foreign firms doing business in Canada.

      The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, better known as C-6, requires foreign firms doing business in the country to adhere to a strict set of privacy guidelines. The bill closes a gap that existed in Canadian law. Until this act, no Canadian federal legislation protected personal information in the private sector, but such data is federally guarded in the public sector.

      Al Decker, CEO and co-founder of Fiderus, an IT security and privacy consulting firm based in North Carolina's Research Triangle district, said in a statement that, "New regulatory measures are emerging around the world. Whoever can navigate these measures, however, will be able to move themselves past their competition and take advantage of the tremendous growth potential that exists in these markets. Between the EU's 'Safe Harbor' provisions across the Atlantic and these regulations coming out of Ottawa, privacy challenges are growing."

      C-6 establishes rules governing the collection, use and disclosure of, as well as access to, personal information in the private sector. The implementation marks the first step in a three-year process. Businesses in federally regulated industries (telecom, financial services, airlines, etc.) must immediately comply with the law. Medical information falls under the rule in 12 months, followed by all remaining commercial businesses that handle information on Jan. 1, 2004.

      Decker said the new regulations present challenges to companies hoping to succeed in online commerce because user-confidence in security systems is taking on ever-growing importance.

      "Privacy is more than just a necessary part of doing business in the online world," he said. "Privacy, along with security, are the two critical ingredients in customer confidence."




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