Privacy watchdog needs sharper teeth

Elizabeth Denham played a key role in the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s public consultations held over the spring and summer.

The assistant commissioner at the time, Denham explained in this video that the federal office might need stronger powers and grow beyond its ombudsman role if it was to be effective in an era of social networks and geo-locational technologies. Denham pointed to her provincial counterparts as an example of a comissioner’s office that held a bigger stick – including the ability to issue fines.

Now Denham is working for one of those provincial offices. She’s been the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia since May 8 (just five days after shooting this video). There, her work with online sites posing privacy threats continues – she’s already intervened to keep provincial lottery site offline until it patches up a breach reported July 16.

Denham handled the Facebook investigation while still with the federal office.

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