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Do you ever feel like somebody is watching your back (and not your computer screen) when you are on the internet? Well Canada’s privacy law is still protecting you when you are online surfing.
Our fellow Canadian Social media users are shielded from the complex details Terms of Service on many popular social services. Just because you are forced to check the many lengthy terms of service, that of course most of us don’t sit there for a half and hour and actually read, our privacy law trumps any provision that is against the grain of our current privacy law.
“This overriding provision in our federal privacy legislation actually does provide protection for unexpected, unreasonable uses, even with consent,” stated a Toronto-based lawyer and expert on internet law Barry Sookman. “So I actually think there is a standard here that applies that is fairly useful and is consumer friendly.”
“An organization may collect, use or disclose personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider are appropriate in the circumstances.” reads Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
This means that “the person has to agree to the terms,” Sookman said. “So a person who simply accesses a social networking site and hasn’t seen or hasn’t had a reasonable opportunity to review the terms wouldn’t be bound by them.” If the policy had terms that a reasonable person wouldn’t consider appropriate, then those terms may not be binding.
Depending on the service, when somebody accesses their website, many website companies automatically collect basic information to know, for example, where people are coming from and to know if they are a returning visitor.
Those kind of data collection is rather hidden and it is automated usually to facilitate the operation of their site.
When data collection crosses the line:
Where there is some completely unexpected use of one’s personal information, matters “may go over the line.”. “So the test in Canadian privacy law is whether it goes over the line,” Barry says.
In several years ago, researchers at Carnegie Melon University calculated it would take an average user 76 8-hour days to read all the privacy policies that the average internet user typically has by then already agreed to.
“Many experts now realize that consent is not the linchpin that is the right standard for internet governance of use because of that fact that many people don’t actually read the privacy policies as well,” Barry said. “ However, social website users should realize that these services are free, and the only way it makes sense to continue to offer them for free is by finding a way to monetize their usage”, Barry adds.
“The currency that individuals pay for the privilege for the free use is giving up some usage of their personal information.”
However, we at 4GoodHosting pledge to you in our Terms of Service that we will never resell your private information. We are strong privacy advocates!