Standing on guard in Canada for privacy – before Facebook by Michael Geist

The recent Canadian privacy case involving Facebook attracted international attention as the world’s leading social networking site agreed to implement a series of changes that will affect 250 million users. While the case is a significant victory for Canadian privacy, the issue might never have been addressed but for a second, little-noticed privacy decision released two weeks later.In December 2004, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada against U.S.-based, an online data broker that collects, uses and discloses the personal information of Canadians (I am an adviser to CIPPIC but was not involved directly in the case). The company offered a wide range of search services on individuals, purporting to dig up everything from past police reports to consumer preferences.

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