June 2019
Ontario Outlines Policy Framework for Updated Data Strategy

2019-06-05 12:40:23 PM

CATEGORIES: Access & Privacy

The provincial government has developed a new set of policy principles that will guide an updated data strategy that is to be released tentatively in the Fall. The principles reflect privacy concerns from the government's public consultations held earlier this year. The consultation reflected that 79% of the 770 respondents believed data about people and businesses need better protection and that 83% of respondents believe that businesses do not to a sufficient job explaining what they do with data.  

The government’s policy framework includes:

  • Guarantee that Ontarians’ privacy and personal data are protected;

  • Ensure that Ontarians are the primary beneficiaries and valued partners in the opportunities created by the project;

  • Create responsible and good governance systems that are democratic, accountable, and transparent;

  • Enact leading, best technical practices that ensure chosen technologies use open software and open standards, and are secure, interoperable, locally procured, flexible, durable and scalable; and

  • Educate the public on the risks associated with the project and provide meaningful opportunities for local residents to participate and engage in the creation of the smart city.

This updated data strategy is in light of recent government hearings in both Canada and the US invovling major tech companies, including Facebook and Google. Google specifically has been making headlines in Toronto recently with its involvement in a proposed Quayside development, Sidewalks Toronto, which will develop the city’s waterfront through its sister company Sidewalk Labs. 

Sidewalks Toronto is a data-driven development project that will use sensors in public areas to detect energy use, traffic, and pollution. There are concerns, however, on how the rights and privacy of the public will be protected with the use of such technology and fears that the Smart City could be used as a tool for mass surveillance.

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish told QP Briefing that while he was encouraged by the government’s consultation, he would like to see additional measures such as independent oversight for compliance purposes. 

Next steps for the government will be to name a task force and more outreach with stakeholders. 

This policy framework would be a first for smart cities. 

For more information, please see below: 

Ontario Newsroom: Ontario Takes Action to Protect Privacy and Personal Data 


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