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StatsCan allowed to secretly take your data, even if it can’t be justified

Statistics Canada appears to be on shaky grounds when it comes to how it handles your privacy and data.
Ali Taghva Montreal, QC

Statistics Canada appears to be on shaky grounds when it comes to how it handles your privacy and data.

According to a new report by the federal privacy watchdog, the national statistics agency could not justify its secret collection of Canadians’ financial transactions. While the organization could not provide a valid justification, the watchdog found that StatsCan legally was allowed to take unneeded private data from Canadians without their knowledge.

Global News first reported in late 2018 on the StatCan program to collect “detailed financial transaction information of 500,000 Canadians from banks without their consent or knowledge.”

The news agency also found that StatsCan had gone as far back as 15 years of credit rating information.

According to Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien, during the investigation officials were unable to demonstrate why their objectives required the collection of highly sensitive information from millions of Canadians.

According to a report by the Canadian Press, the statistics agency has agreed to not carry out mass data collection, and instead follow the commissioner’s recommendations.

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Ali Taghva
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