Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Enters the "Cloud" Debate

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...Image via Wikipedia

As part of the 2010 Consumer Privacy Consultations the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has put out a notice of consultation and call for submissions on privacy issues related to cloud computing practices and their implications for individuals, organizations, and businesses.

The Privacy Commissioner is looking to the consumer to "learn more about cloud computing technology, explore its privacy implications, and find out what privacy protections Canadians expect with respect to cloud computing". It's the second OPC privacy consultation in 2010, the first being the Online Tracking, Profiling and Targeting consultation.

Worth noting that the OPC is also hoping genereate public and consumer debate regarding technological developments on privacy with the aim to inform the next review process for the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

As part of the consultation process the OPC also released its first report on cloud computing, Reaching for the Cloud(s): Privacy Issues related to Cloud Computing, where they identify the privacy-specific issues of concern and "overarching problems" with cloud computing, e.g.:
  • jurisdictional neutrality;
  • consumer lack of control;
  • compromising meaningful choice and consent (the alternatives which exist with service providers);
  • data ownership;
  • security and many others

It would be great to have some education representatives / partners involved in this consultation process. Many of the collaborative school district projects being pursued south of the border involve cloud technology - in fact Obama's New Education Technology Plan advocates this type of innovation, and Canada's education community is definitely interested in exploring what this type of infrastructure would mean to the development of online learning.