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We received more than 50 written submissions from businesses, civil society, academics, lawyers, regulators and individuals.We also held five stakeholder roundtables across Canada, as well as a series of focus groups with individual Canadians in four cities.This report details that work and more, and sets a new course for the future of privacy protection in Canada.Consent has long been considered a foundational element of .This report will cover both the ), Canada’s federal private sector privacy law.As was the case when I presented my last Annual Report, the swift evolution of technology—big data, the Internet of Things, biometrics and artificial intelligence, among other innovations—is continuing to have a tremendous impact on personal privacy.But obtaining meaningful consent has become increasingly challenging in the digital age where data has become ubiquitous, commodified and may be processed by multiple players totally unbeknownst to the individual to whom the data belongs.For this reason, my Office published a discussion paper in May 2016 exploring the practicability of the current consent model under , whether it needs to change and who should be responsible for which changes—organizations, individuals, regulators or legislators.
Legally, organizations must obtain consent to collect, use and disclose an individual’s personal information, subject to a list of very specific exceptions.The development of technology, which overall is a positive thing, will not take place in a sustainable manner unless the fears of citizens are addressed with concrete and robust solutions.When we held consultations, Canadians told us that when it comes to privacy, they want better information to exercise individual control over their personal information, but they also expect better government protection, because they feel government has more knowledge and better tools to ensure privacy is protected. In my view, the solutions required to address their concerns should, of course, include better information to empower them to exercise individual control and personal autonomy. Individuals must be at the centre of privacy protection; however, stronger support mechanisms are also required.After many months analyzing the feedback, we are pleased to unveil our conclusions as part of this year’s annual report.To begin, we heard how utterly powerless individuals feel in the digital marketplace when it comes to controlling how their personal information is collected and used by companies.