Re: Canadians able to use debit cards in the U.S. by fall (April 1)

I have always been able to use my bank card in the U.S.

Where you can find a merchant who takes them,

that is. Target is the only place I know of there. Even ATMs are scarcer than snowballs in Florida. Here, the corner variety store takes debit cards — there, even the large department stores do not have them. One advantage of having only a few national banks, as opposed to many, many local banks.

John Stoll

Re: Canadians able to use debit cards in the U.S. by fall (April 1)

I don’t know who wrote this article, but they should check their facts on the usage of debt cards in the United States. My wife and I were in Corning, N.Y., 15 years ago and my bank card worked find at the Wegman’s store. If fact we used our cards all over the town. Other than this being yet another debt card network extending into the United States, I don’t see what the news is really about?

Peter St. Amour

Neil Sutton responds:

Canadians have been able to use their debit cards at most bank machines in the U.S. for some time now, but according to the Canadian Bankers Association, this is the first time the cards will work for direct payment at American retail locations. Spokesperson Caroline Hubberstey says, “”The announcement was in respect to point-of-sale payments. Right now, you can’t go into a retailer and use a debit card (in the U.S.) as you would an LCBO or The Bay. You can go to an ABM almost anywhere in the world, but you can’t go into a retailer.””

If anyone finds they are able to use their Canadian debit cards at a U.S. retailer’s point-of-sale, please let us know.


Re: PIPEDA confusion sets in (March 29)

To be sure, PIPEDA is a cultural “”slap upside the head”” for companies not used to caring about confidentiality. It was a long time coming in Canada, and in spite of any short-comings, is a good base to begin to clean up Canadian corporations. After some experience with it and any related provincial legislation, they will come to realize the inevitability of it, even if they choose to ignore the necessity.

PIPEDA may even have the side benefit of simplifying and down-sizing databases, by eliminating information not really required by the business function anyway. Developers and consultants may be forced to really think about database design for a change. Could that be a bad thing? If a business function really does require restricted data, it may force them to secure it better. In today’s world of spyware, viruses, worms, trojans, etc., can that be a bad thing?

Overall, I think PIPEDA is good and necessary. As in all things new, it may not be perfect, but it’s a good start. The initial confusion about the act is, to me, just an indicator of how bad the status of corporate protection of private information is in this, our home and native land.

Kudos to the CICA, for taking the lead in providing implementation assistance.

Bruce Edwardes

Re: PIPEDA confusion sets in (March 29)

I find it interesting that the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants feels the need to publish a guide on working with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

There are a couple of publications that have been in existence since 1996 that deal specifically with the protection of personal information, and are 100 per cent Canadian in content (unlike the CICA publication which is co-published with its American counterpart).

The publications I speak of are published by the Canadian Standards Association, and refer to the CSA Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information. For those unaware of the history, the CSA Model Code is the basis of PIPEDA, and forms Schedule II of the act. The publications are:

Making the CSA Privacy Code Work for You (PLUS 8300)
Implementing Privacy Codes of Practice (PLUS 8830)
Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information (CAN/CSA- Q830-96)

I used these publications to assist our organization in setting up our privacy policy, a full year before PIPEDA came into effect for us. They provide a practical, step by step instruction guide as to what to do, and how to do it.

More power to the accountants if they wish to re-invent the wheel, but for my money the best guides are already here, and have been for eight years.

Tom Obright

Re: PIPEDA confusion sets in (March 29)

I concur with your article on PIPEDA. It appears that the federally chartered companies who were the first enterprises subject to PIPEDA back in 2000 were best prepared, as a result of a sound awareness campaign back then. Unfortunately, any plans for an awareness campaign in 2003 were shunted into the sidings due to the disruptions caused by Mr. Radwanski’s excesses, and they are not yet back on the rails. I have been conducting PIPEDA awareness seminars on a regular basis during the first three months of this year, I have a Web site (www.privacy-solutions.ca) providing significant information, and I know I am not alone in this, but it is an uphill battle, and probably won’t have been fully addressed for another couple of years at this rate.

However, I have some reservations about some of the approaches being taken to overcome this shortfall. Your article mentions the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner endorsing the CICA Toolkit (the Federal Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart is doing something similar on her site). I know and respect Commissioner Cavoukian and her staff highly, and know and respect Robert Parker of Deloitte Touche and CICA also (having been a guest on one of his CICA-sponsored privacy panels in the past). The problem I have is that the Commissioner is getting into a grey area when endorsing (or partnering in) any commercial ventures, as these toolkits must be viewed to be, because, unless her Office be charged with partisanship, she could be putting herself in the position where anyone in the field could legitimately ask for her review and endorsement or certification of their “”toolkit”” for this thorny problem. No one consulting firm has the absolute answer to this!

I understand that, at one time, CICA was seriously looking at providing a “”privacy certification service”” until the liability issues caused them to back off. This, had it occured, and had it received the endorsement of any Privacy Commissioner, would have been yet another case of “”privatization”” of services which should remain in the public service’s hands, charged as they are in the legislation (at least for now solely at the federal level) to administer this legislation.

Paul Darlaston
Privacy Solutions


Re: The Accused (March 10)

I think Mr. Broen’s perception of spam is a little off-kilter. (See Readers weigh in on . . . April 2.) Spam is any unsolicited e-mail, not just e-mail that is trying to sell a product or service. “”Sending an unsolicited e-mail to a million Canadians . . . three weeks before a federal election”” is no less spam than sending out offers for generic Viagra, no matter how altruistic the motives of the spammer.

David G. Smith


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