A high-tech lobby group wants a number of changes made to Ontario’s proposed privacy act, but doesn’t know when its case will be heard.

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) says the Privacy of Persoanl Information Act, 2002 (PPIA) as worded in the Ontario Government’s draft proposal would harm high-tech companies in and outside of Ontario.

The Ontario government released its draft legislation in January. In some cases, it would override the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The Ministry of Consumer and Business Affairs hopes to see it passed by next year.””It says a couple of times in the course of the proposed act and the background material that they’ve provided that this is intended to help Ontario business in the world of electronic commerce. The sorts of provisions that they’re talking about will actually be just the reverse,”” says David Paterson, CATAAlliance’s executive director for Ottawa. “”It’ll be particularly hard on small companies.

At the top of Paterson’s list are the three Cs: consent, custody and control. According to PPIA, “”Expressed consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information must be given.”” Paterson, however, says this runs contrary to the popular international implied consent model and will only serve as a competitive disadvantage.

On the custody and control of data side, Paterson says current business practices make the demands unrealistic. CATAAlliance argues a great deal of company’s data task are outsourced, and while these people are paid to handle the information, they aren’t the owners. It is unreasonable, according to Ottawa-based group, to expect third parties to seek consent.

Paterson says he sees similar hurdles when it comes to mergers and acquisitions.

“”The draft act requires that the acquiring will carry on substantially the same business as the company it’s acquiring. That’s a somewhat unrealistic approach to things for a number of reasons,”” Paterson says.

“”People make acquisitions for the purpose of diversification. They may make an acquisition with a particular view in mind and then find after they’ve done the deal it would be better if they took a different approach. Business models change because of markets.””

Precisely when CATAAlliance’s objections will be heard and changes can be considered and/or made is up in the air. Paterson says former Consumer and Business Services Minister Norm Sterling promised a re-draft, but he was replaced by Tim Hudak during the font color=red>recent cabinet shuffle. Paterson says he has yet to speak with Hudak opting to give him some time to settle in.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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