Canada's Privacy Commissioner: Today's Youth Face Privacy Risks Like Never Before

by Knowlton Thomas

The Privacy Commissioner's 2011 annual report on private-sector privacy issues, tabled in Parliament this week, examines some of the concerns facing today's youth. Young Canadians are facing a host of privacy risks that previous generations never had to worry about, the 2011 Annual Report to Parliament on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act says, from "nanny cams" to cell phone monitoring to a permanent trail of their online communications.

"While the young show agility in using any new kind of digital communication, and recognize the importance of protecting their privacy, they are also often unsuspecting about the potential privacy intrusions that can accompany novel technologies," says Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart. "All of that online communication creates a permanent record—and that could carry risks to their privacy and to their reputations. Not just today, but perhaps even more in the future."

The Privacy Commissioner published a graphic novel called Social Smarts: Privacy, the Internet and You, which is designed to help younger Canadians to understand and navigate privacy issues in the online world.

"This graphic novel, a first for our Office, was developed with feedback from youth. We hope it will help young people to understand the risks to privacy when it comes to social networking, gaming and texting," says Commissioner Stoddart.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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