Canada announces Digital Charter

The Canadian government is seeking to reform current privacy legislation as part of a move to build greater trust in the digital world.

In a speech, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announced the 10-point digital charter, which he claimed would be needed in a society that is increasingly data reliant. The points include ensuring universal access to the internet for all Canadians; allowing personal control and consent over data; ensuring safe and secure access, and defending freedom of speech whilst limiting hate speech.

“We need to get serious about rebuilding trust because people are currently losing,” Bains said at the Empire Club of Canada event in Toronto.

Bains emphasised that if any company was found to violate the privacy laws, then they would be hit with a “significant and meaningful fine[s]”.

The government will be reviewing the Statistics Act “to ensure Canadians can trust the way their data is handled,” Bains said. It was also announced that the government is pledging to strengthen the current Personal Information Protection and Electronics Document Act (PIPEDA).

The government will also launch The Data Governance Standardization Collaborative – which aims to coordinate the development of data governance standards in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced the Digital Charter last week stressing the need to combat hate speech, misinformation and online electoral interference.

Bains said:

“With the Digital Charter, we now have the values that will guide us.”

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