The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (the “Commissioner”) published on September 25, 2012, research undertaken by the Commissioner to assess the extent that popular websites in Canada are disclosing the personal information of registered users to third-party sites. The extent of improper “leaking” of registered users’ personal information without the user’s consent or even knowledge raises serious concerns for the privacy rights of Canadians.
Among the 25 websites tested by researchers, six of them were flagged with “significant privacy concerns.” These websites disclose information to third parties, apparently without the knowledge or consent of the people affected. Third parties receiving such information include a number of analytics and marketing firms. Furthermore, the Commissioner also had questions about the practices of a further five sites.
The Commissioner has not publicly named the specific tested organizations at this time. The Commissionner has written to the websites that raised privacy concerns to request information about their practices in order to assess if current practices need to be modified to ensure compliance with privacy law.
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