Canadian Privacy Law Could Protect Unwitting Canadians on Social Media

Canadian law may save social media users who neglect to read sites’ terms of use policies, specifically when they unwittingly agree to have their personal information shared with third parties (and yes, you have done this).

According to Barry Sookman, a Toronto-based lawyer and expert on internet law, Canadian privacy law may override social memdia policies. “This overriding provision in our federal privacy legislation actually does provide protection for unexpected, unreasonable uses, even with consent,” Sookman told CBC. “So I actually think there is a standard here that applies that is fairly useful and is consumer friendly.”

Quoth CBC:

In Canada, “there’s nothing to stop an organization from gathering that information about you and doing pretty much as they please with it as long as you’re notified.” Just by visiting another website, you have agreed to their terms of service, [Sharon Polsky] said. However, according to Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, “an organization may collect, use or disclose personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider are appropriate in the circumstances.”

Sookman points out that this means the person has to agree to the terms. “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,” he told CBC.