Canada's privacy commissioner wants more power. Jennifer Stoddart says that in order to do her job effectively, she needs to be able to impose financial penalties on companies that fail to comply with her office's decisions.
Currently, her comission employs what she calls a "soft approach" to privacy regulation. And she says it isn't working.
"We have seen large corporations, in the name of consultation with my office, pay lip service to our concerns and then ignore our advice," she told the House of Commons privacy committee this month. "There has to be a system of penalties and fines, something that will serve as an incentive to invest in the protection of data, and will also serve as a deterrent as well if there is a data breach."
Jennifer says that she feels increasingly powerless against major multinational corporations like Google and Facebook.
But Google, for one, says that if the privacy commissioner gained new powers, the company would be less willing to work with the department. The software giant says currently it's willing to have "open discussions" with the commissioner because the system is not "heavily focused on enforcement."
Photo: Patrick Doyle, The Globe and Mail