Three years ago this month the industry was already buzzing about records keeping and the privacy commissioner, but back then the news was that with the passage into law of Bill C-6, companies were given a timeline
to get their information in order. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which began its rollout on January 1, 2001 and will be more broadly applied on New Year’s Day 2004, was designed to provide “”the privacy protection that is the foundation of electronic commerce.””
Stephanie Perrin, one of the architects of PIPEDA, predicted that the Act would have a significant impact on Canadian companies.
“”Most companies in Canada are not subject to any privacy legislation whatsoever,”” she said. “”I would say if you are a company where the public doesn’t even know you’ve got the data, there’s going to be an impact because you’re going to have to let people know.””
David Jones, the president of Electronic Frontier Canada, said that legislation is a step in the right direction, but also said that the scope of the privacy commissioner needed to be improved.
“”Sometimes records management is shockingly poor,”” Perrin said.
In June 2000 Xerox and Microsoft created a new company to tackle digital rights management (DRM). It was announced that ContentGuard’s suite would operate like pay-per-view television programming, with content owners specifying the terms and conditions of customer access and use. A report from IDC said that DRM would be worth US$275 billion by 2003.
“”The best stuff, the best books, the best music, the best movies, generally aren’t available over the Internet. So content owners miss out on the ultimate distribution tool and customers don’t have the enormous variety of choices that they probably want,”” said Rick Thorman, then president and CEO of Xerox.
At the time, Microsoft said that it would eventually include the ContentGuard technology in its Real MediaPlayer and Office products, as well as in its operating system.
A survey of IT managers in June 2000 showed that Canadian businesses weren’t paying enough attention to network security. Dan McLean, a research manager for networks at IDC Canada said that 25 per cent of large firms and 15 per cent of medium-sized companies said they had as many as four attempts to break into their systems over the last 12 months. However, most companies believed viruses, not hacking, are the biggest threat to their networks.
“”Most companies we’ve spoken to are in a reactive mode when it comes to network management,”” he said. “”Not many companies look at it in a pro-active way — that they’re able to identify problems or faults before they cause failure.””
Not much has changed. A recent estimate pegged the number of viruses out there wreaking havoc at about 80,000, but this number is on the rise, according to the anti-virus information exchange network’s Robert Vibert””The bottom line is things are getting worse,”” he said. “”Some people say they are twice as likely each year as in the past of encountering a virus. It’s a continuing, ongoing problem. There hasn’t been any gap, or a time when things have calmed down — they just keep on coming.””