The implications of the USA Patriot Act

Report from B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner
By Uyen Vu
||Last Updated: 11/08/2004

A “reasonable possibility” exists that authorities in the United States gain access to Canadian personal information with the use of the USA Patriot Act, said British Columbia privacy commissioner David Loukidelis.

Rigorous measures should be put in place to “mitigate against illegal and surreptitious access” to personal data, he said, following a review of some 500 submissions on the question of potential privacy breaches when the processing of personal data is outsourced to U.S.-linked firms.

Noting that the USA Patriot Act, enacted shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks, has been used “in ordinary criminal investigations and have expedited surveillance in a myriad of circumstances,” the privacy commissioner said once personal information crosses borders, “regulating its use is its best difficult and at its worst impossible.”