Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice. She has been practicing law since 1994, with brief stints away to begin raising children. Susan has experience in many areas of law, but is most drawn to areas in which she can make a positive difference in people���������s lives, including employment law. She has been a member of the Law Society of Alberta since 1994 and a member of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2015. Susan grew up in Saskatchewan. Her parents were both entrepreneurs, and her father was also a union leader who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of workers. Before moving to B.C., Susan practiced law in both Calgary and Fort McMurray, AB. Living and practicing law in Fort McMurray made a lasting impression on Susan. It was in this isolated and unique community that her interest in employment law, and Canada���s oil sands industry, took hold. In 2013, Susan moved to the Okanagan with her family, where she currently resides. photo:contributed

Kootnekoff: Social media privacy

In short, it is a fiction. Social media privacy does not exist. Privacy does not exist on the internet.

Regardless of your privacy settings, and even if you have removed something from your page, there is an army of people at a behemoth organization who have permanent access to your personal information. This may include each website you visit, your location at all times, even every key stroke you make. It is astounding. All of this, in the hands of private for-profit American corporations. Others may have it also, if your personal information has been shared or sold.

Recently, the federal privacy commissioner announced that an investigation had found that “Facebook committed serious contraventions” of Canadian privacy laws.

A news release quoted Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien as having said that “Facebook’s refusal to act responsibly is deeply troubling given the vast amount of sensitive personal information users have entrusted to this company. Their privacy framework was empty, and their vague terms were so elastic that they were not meaningful for privacy protection.”

“The stark contradiction between Facebook’s public promises to mend its ways on privacy and its refusal to address the serious problems we’ve identified – or even acknowledge that it broke the law – is extremely concerning.”

The Commissioner sought to implement measures to ensure the company respects its accountability and other privacy obligations. Facebook refused to submit to audits of its privacy policies and practices.

The Terms of Service and policies of some of these big players are concerning. The policies, which are built into their contracts, can be unilaterally and arbitrarily changed on the drop of a dime.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) plans to take the matter to Federal Court to seek an order to force the company to correct its privacy practices.

A certain popular search engine, whose name starts with “G” has also been on the receiving end of various investigation reports from the OPC. It is uncertain if any compliance has occurred. Will it be the next one taken to court?

British Columbia and Alberta have tougher privacy laws than these U.S. based giants are accustomed to.

We have various rules that require personal information to be safeguarded. The more sensitive it is, such as information of children, or health information, the higher the safeguards that are expected. We also have rules governing the purposes for which personal information can be collected, used and disclosed.

Special rules apply for personal information being held South of the border. This is because players with American connections are subject to the Patriot Act, and other similarly far reaching U.S. legislation.

Under U. S. legislation, the U.S. government does not obtain search warrants to request access to personal information, and the organization receiving the request is not to disclose the request to anyone. Yet receiving such a request and failing to provide certain notifications required in Canada violates our laws. Handing over our personal information also violates our laws. That popular search engine, for example, has admitted to handing over information relating to individuals outside the United States. Few details are provided.

There are many problems and concerns in this area, which are too vast to adequately discuss here.

The Supreme Court of Canada has sent signals in several decisions that Canadians’ privacy is important. It will certainly be interesting to watch this case, and others like it, unfold over the next several years.

The content of this article is intended to provide very general thoughts and general information, not to provide legal advice. Advice from an experienced legal professional should be sought about your specific circumstances. If you would like to reach us, we may be reached at 250-764-7710 or info@inspirelaw.ca. Check out our website, www.inspirelaw.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

First day back; attending elementary school amid COVID-19

“… Social connections are certainly important for kids,” said Carmi principal Dave Ritchie.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip appeals for living-donor kidney transplant

Okanagan Nation Alliance Grand Chief has chronic kidney disease

Column: Penticton Regional Hospital returning to ‘new normal’

If we’ve learned anything over the last few months, it’s how important good health is in our lives.

Olympic athlete sends shout-out to Cawston Primary students

Canadian Olympic sprinter Khamica Bingham participated in one of the school’s long-time traditions

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Vernon protesters take Black Lives Matter movement to park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Bear strolls into Okangan homeowner’s living room

Conservation officers are searching for the bear, which entered a home in the Foothills area

Most Read