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Canadians can find out what data a company stores about them

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

The average consumer is starting to realize how much personal data companies collect about them. 

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Consumers should be concerned about what data is collected, how is is used and who it is shared with. 

Canadian privacy laws ( like Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) allow consumers to access their information (aka companies must respond to a request for personal information held by the company).

Principle 4.9: Upon request, an individual shall be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information and be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

PIPEDA section 4.9 mandates that companies respond to Data Access Requests within 30 days of receipt. The information must be made available for free or at a reasonable cost.

Principle 4.9.4: An organization shall respond to an individual’s request within a reasonable time and at minimal or no cost to the individual.

Some companies use legally complex wording and vague statements in their privacy policies to hide the level of detail collected and to obfuscate how it is used. The Data Access Request allows any individual to understand (and see) what has been collected and what is being done with their information. 

What is a Data Access Request?

Toronto based Citizen Lab has created and operated a site called Access My Info. The site was created to simplify how Canadian's create and submit Data Access Requests using templates. 


Testing it

I will submit a couple of test requests and see how companies respond. If you are a Canadian, I encourage you to try this as well.