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Annual report highlights OPC work in context of global privacy trends

Press Release

GATINEAU, QC, June 6, 2024 – The Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s annual report, tabled today in Parliament, highlights global trends in privacy that are reflected in the Office’s work and strategic priorities.

The Commissioner’s 2023-2024 annual report, Trust, innovation, and protecting the fundamental right to privacy in the digital age, describes key activities and achievements of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) to protect and promote Canadians’ fundamental right to privacy.

The report also shines a spotlight on the Commissioner’s strategic priorities that will guide the work of the OPC over the next three years. These priorities focus on issues where the OPC can have the greatest impact, and where the greatest risks lie if they are not addressed – protecting and promoting privacy with maximum impact; addressing and advocating for privacy in this time of technological change; and championing children’s rights.

Global trends demonstrate growing privacy concerns amidst the rise of digital connectivity, greater concerns related to children’s privacy rights, the rising threat and severity of cyberbreaches, and the increased development in, use of and concern about artificial intelligence, as well as the strengthening of fundamental rights with an expansion of privacy laws.

“Personal information is increasingly sought after in the digital age and protecting privacy has become one of the paramount challenges of our time,” says Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne.

“Just as data is used to fuel innovation, innovation must also be used to protect data. As the world embraces the digital age and opportunities, we must ensure that it does so in a privacy-protective way.”

The investigations that are detailed in the annual report exemplify the risks and the importance of protecting the fundamental right to privacy in the digital era.

For example, the Commissioner’s investigation into Aylo, which operates Pornhub and other pornographic websites, found significant problems that allowed highly sensitive and intimate content to be posted online without the direct knowledge or consent of those depicted. This led to devastating consequences for the woman at the centre of the investigation and other victims.

Other points of interest:

  • In 2023-2024 the OPC accepted 1,113 complaints related to the Privacy Act.
  • The OPC received 561 privacy breach reports from federal institutions, of which 68% related to lost or misplaced records containing personal information.
  • Under PIPEDA, the OPC accepted 446 complaints and 693 data breach reports.
  • Twice as many Canadian accounts were affected by breaches in 2023-2024 (693 breaches affecting 25 million accounts), but for a similar number of reported incidents as the previous year (681 breaches in 2022-2023 affecting approximately 12 million accounts).
  • 25% of all complaints accepted under PIPEDA were against businesses in the financial sector, while the online/digital services sector accounted for 16%.
  • Breach reports showed that third-party service providers, particularly IT and software providers, were targeted more frequently by threat actors.

Further reading

2023-2024 Annual Report to Parliament on the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

For more information

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
communications@priv.gc.ca

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