Categories: Privacy

Best-Practice Data Transfers for Canadian Companies – III – Vendor Contracts

PREPARING FOR DATA TRANSFER – CLAUSES FOR VENDOR CONTRACTS

A three-part series from KI Design:

Part I: Data Outsourcing

Part II: Cross-border Data Transfers

The following guidelines are best-practice recommendations for ensuring that transferred data is processed in compliance with standard regulatory privacy laws.

While a contract creates legal obligations for a Vendor, your company must still take proactive measures to oversee data protection, as it retains legal responsibility for transferred data. So where the Vendor is providing services that involve data transfer, include the following clauses in your contract:

Privacy and Security Standards

  1. The Vendor confirms that it will manage the data through the data lifecycle according to the privacy standards followed by [your company]. The Vendor will provide documentation to confirm that these standards are being followed.
  2. The Vendor will demonstrate that it has audited, high-level technical and organizational security practices in place.
  3. The Vendor will ensure that all data to be transferred is encrypted or de-identified as needed.
  4. If the Vendor will be using another downstream data processor to fulfill part of the contract, the Vendor will inform [your company] of this, and will implement with that third party a contract containing data protection measures equal to those in the contract between [your company] and the Vendor.

Integrity of Data

Data Breaches

Data Ownership

Auditing

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

Have you:

Focusing on data protection issues from the procurement process onward will diminish data breach and other security risks. Create a Request For Proposals template that ensures security elements are included in the evaluation process, and audit and monitor outsourcing operating environments for early detection of any suspicious activity. Limit data transfers across company, provincial, or national borders, and avoid any unintended cross-border data transfers.

REMEMBER: Your company is still legally responsible for transferred data

A three-part series from KI Design:

For further information on data transfers, and privacy compliance matters generally, see Waël Hassan’s book Privacy in Design: A Practical Guide to Corporate Compliance, available on Amazon.

 


Categories: Privacy

Best-Practice Data Transfers for Canadian Companies – Part II

CROSS-BORDER DATA TRANSFERS

A three-part series from KI Design: Part I: Data Outsourcing , Part III: Preparing for Data Transfer – Clauses for Vendor Contracts

When personal information (PI) is moved across federal or provincial boundaries in the course of commercial activity, it’s considered a cross-border data transfer.

Transferring data brings risk. As well as increasing the dangers of unauthorized access and use, it raises legal complications: the data will become subject to the laws of the country to which it’s being transferred. Your company will need to take legal advice to make sure you’re aware of what laws are applicable, and what that may mean in terms of compliance.

Remember: Once the data is transferred, your organization will continue to have the same legal obligations to data subjects. Even when the PI is in a different jurisdiction, privacy requirements laid down by the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), such as obtaining a data subject’s consent for sharing their data, are still in play.

If your organization chooses to transfer PI to a company outside Canada, you’ll need to notify any affected individuals, ideally at the time of data collection. Depending on the type of information involved, these individuals may be customers or employees. The notice must make it clear to the data subject that their personal information may be processed by a foreign company, and thus become subject to foreign laws. Data subjects should be advised that foreign legislation (such as the USA PATRIOT Act) might grant that country’s courts, law enforcement, or national security authorities the power to access their PI without their knowledge or consent.

Once an individual has consented to the terms and purposes of data collection, they don’t then have the right to refuse to have their information transferred, as long as the transfer is in accordance with the original intended purpose of collection.

Legal Requirements: Data Outsourcing across Jurisdictions

CANADA: PIPEDA regulates all personal data that flows across national borders in the course of private sector commercial transactions, regardless of other applicable provincial privacy laws.[i]

Outsourcing personal data processing activities is allowed under PIPEDA, but all reasonable steps must be taken to protect the data while it is abroad.

Because of the high standards PIPEDA sets for protecting Canadians’ personal information, the privacy risks of sharing data with non-EU-based foreign companies are greater than if your company were sharing data with a Canadian organization.

When personal information is transferred internationally, it also becomes subject to the laws of the new jurisdiction. These cannot be bypassed by contractual terms asserting protection from data surveillance. Foreign jurisdiction laws cannot be overridden.

US privacy law is constantly evolving, through a series of individual cases and a patchwork of federal and state laws. This piecemeal approach to privacy regulation makes it challenging to evaluate privacy compliance.

For Canadian organizations using US-based data processing services, the differences between Canadian and US privacy models raise valid concerns about enforcement. Canadians do not have access to Federal Trade Commission complaint processes (unless a US consumer law has been broken). Despite signing contracts that include privacy provisions, Canadian organizations rarely have the resources to pursue litigation against major US Internet companies. In practical terms, this means that US companies may not be legally accountable to Canadian clients.

Recent US data surveillance laws make Canadian PI held by US companies even more vulnerable. Several provinces have passed legislation prohibiting public bodies, such as healthcare and educational institutions, from storing personal information outside Canada. Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act creates statutory requirements regarding private sector outsourcing of data. The Act requires that organizations transferring PI across Canadian borders for processing (rather than a simple transfer of PI) must have given affected individuals prior notice of the transfer, as well as the opportunity to contact an informed company representative with any questions. It also imposes a mandatory data breach reporting obligation. BC’s Personal Information Protection Act contains similar requirements. Quebec’s stricter private-sector privacy law restricts the transfer of data outside the province.[ii]

“Organizations must be transparent about their personal information handling practices. This includes advising customers that their personal information may be sent to another jurisdiction for processing and that while the information is in another jurisdiction it may be accessed by the courts, law enforcement and national security authorities.” 

– Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Sector-specific Canadian operations may face additional legal requirements. Outsourcing the processing of health information will be regulated by the various provincial health information laws, for example. While the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act doesn’t limit cross-border PI transfers, it does prohibit the disclosure of PI to persons outside Ontario without the consent of affected individuals.

 

UNITED STATES: The USA PATRIOT Act declares that all information collected by US companies or stored in the US is subject to US government surveillance. Foreign data subjects have little recourse to protect the privacy of their personal information held by US multinational corporations, which include most cloud computing service providers.

 

EUROPE: The European approach to data sharing across jurisdictions is based on territory: foreign companies must comply with the laws of the countries in which their customers reside.

 

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) generally prohibits the transfer of personal information to recipients outside the EU unless:

For foreign companies to operate in Europe, national regulators in each jurisdiction within the EU will have to assess the legal compliance of company codes of conduct. These will have to contain satisfactory Privacy Principles (e.g., transparency, data quality, security) and effective implementation tools (e.g., auditing, training, complaints management), and demonstrate that they are binding. Codes of conduct must apply to all parties involved in the business of the data controller or the data processor, including employees, and all parties must ensure compliance. (For instance, under the GDPR, cloud computing service providers will almost certainly have to locate servers outside the US to protect data from American surveillance privacy violations.)

Canada is currently deemed an “adequate” jurisdiction by the EU because of the privacy protections provided by PIPEDA (although be aware that adequacy decisions are reviewed every four years, and so that may change). Your company will still need to make sure that data transfer protocols follow the GDPR’s requirements, which are stricter than those mandated by PIPEDA. Consent is something you’ll need to pay particular attention to. The GDPR does not allow an opt-out option; consent to data processing must be informed and specific.

Given the scale of financial penalties under the GDPR, it’s best to consult legal counsel to ensure that you have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.

Regulating Data Sharing between Organizations: A Cross-border Analysis

EU and North American laws around data sharing reflect very different understandings of responsibility for protecting privacy. At first glance, US and Canadian laws mandate that personal data shared with a third party be bound by a policy, the provisions of which ought to be equally or more stringent than the terms to which data subjects agreed when they initially released their personal information. However, these North American privacy laws only hold accountable the primary service provider that first collected the data; privacy breaches by data recipients are considered to be violations of contractual obligations, but not violations of privacy rights.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, in contrast, adopts a shared responsibility model for data sharing; both service providers (in this context, data collectors) and subcontractors (data processors or other third-party vendors) are responsible for enforcing privacy provisions. Data collectors are not permitted to share personal data with a third party unless it is possible to guarantee the enforcement of equal or stronger privacy provisions than those found in the original agreements with data subjects. This shared responsibility model reflects greater privacy maturity, by shifting from an exclusive focus on adequate policy and contracts to ensuring effective implementation through monitoring and governance of all data holders.

For further information on data transfers, and privacy compliance matters generally, see Waël Hassan’s book Privacy in Design: A Practical Guide to Corporate Compliance, available on Amazon.

A three-part series from KI Design:

[i] For further information, see Office of the Privacy Commissioner, “Businesses and Your Personal Information,” online at: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/your-privacy-rights/businesses-and-your-personal-information/.

[ii] For further information, see George Waggott, Michael Reid, & Mitch Koczerginski, “Cloud Computing: Privacy and Other Risks,” McMillan LLP, December 2013, online at: https://mcmillan.ca/Files/166506_Cloud%20Computing.pdf.

[iii] For further information, see the analysis by Dr. Detlev Gabel & Tim Hickman in Unlocking the EU General Data Protection Regulation: A Practical Handbook on the EU’s New Data Protection Law, Chapter 13, White & Case website, 22 Jul 2016, online at: https://www.whitecase.com/publications/article/chapter-13-cross-border-data-transfers-unlocking-eu-general-data-protection.


Categories: Privacy

Best-Practice Data Transfers for Canadian Companies – I – Outsourcing

DATA OUTSOURCING

In our digitally interconnected world, most organizations that handle personal information will transfer it to a third party at some stage of the data life cycle. Your company may send personal information (PI) to an external service provider such as PayPal to process customer payments – that’s a data transfer. Perhaps you hired a data disposal company to destroy data at the end of its life span – that’s a data transfer. Your company may outsource payroll – that means you’re transferring employee data. Any sharing or transmitting of data, electronic or hard copy, is considered a transfer.

But remember: all transfers of personal information must be compliant with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and any relevant provincial and sector-specific privacy laws. So, be aware that the many business advantages of data outsourcing are offset by increased security risks, as we’ll see below. And when PI flows into another jurisdiction, the situation becomes more complex.

The key take-away is this:

When you transfer personal information, even if it passes into another jurisdiction, you retain accountability for its care.

A common type of data transfer is outsourcing: handing over aspects of the provision and management of data computing and storage to a third party. A cloud database managed by a third party is a common example of data outsourcing. Within a data outsourcing design, data sets are often stored together with an application – this connects to an external server, which can then assume data management.

There are many advantages to delegating a business process to an external service provider; these can include efficiency, lower labour costs, and enhanced quality and innovation. (Data processing is often outsourced offshore, to foreign businesses: this raises other issues, which are addressed in Part II: Cross-border Data Transfers.

However, data outsourcing brings its own challenges and security risks. Can you guarantee that your data processor will not misuse the data in its care? Can you ensure that access controls will be enforced, and policy updates supported, by your processor? Will the processor commit to as rigorous a Privacy Framework as your company has?

The greatest danger with data outsourcing is the risk of a security breach. According to Trustwave’s 2013 Global Security Report, in 63% of global data breach investigations, “a third party responsible for system support, development and/or maintenance introduced the security deficiencies exploited by attackers.”[i] Patrick Thibodeau, senior editor of Computerworld, stresses that companies utilizing the advantages of data outsourcing “need to go through an exhaustive due-diligence process and examine every possible contingency.”[ii]

Encrypting the data to be outsourced can prevent both outside attacks and inappropriate access from the server itself. It’s also helpful to combine authorization policies with encryption methods, so that access control requirements are bundled together with the data.

Before transferring data, think carefully: is the personal information component actually needed? If you can ensure that the data is (irreversibly) anonymized, and keep careful records of having done so, the personal information will disappear and data protection principles will no longer apply.

PIPEDA doesn’t prevent organizations from outsourcing the processing of data, but the Office of the Privacy Commissioner cautions that organizations outsourcing PI need to take “all reasonable steps to protect that information from unauthorized uses and disclosures while it is in the hands of the third-party processor.”[iii]

Legal Requirements

CANADA: Under PIPEDA, the “transfer” of data is considered a “use” by a company, as opposed to a “disclosure” – this is because the processing of information by a third party is still done for the purposes for which the PI was originally collected. “Processing” is interpreted as any use of the information by a third party for its intended purpose at the time of collection.

PIPEDA’s first Privacy Principle, Accountability, states:

“An organization is responsible for personal information in its possession or custody, including information that has been transferred to a third party for processing. The organization shall use contractual or other means to provide a comparable level of protection while the information is being processed by a third party.”

This statement has three key clauses; we’ll look at each in turn.

1) “An organization is responsible for personal information in its possession or custody, including information that has been transferred to a third party for processing.” The onus of responsibility lies with your organization, even once information has been transferred to a third party; you cannot outsource legal liability. This means that you’ll need to know exactly what data protection safeguards your data processor has in place, and be able to monitor them during the transfer process.

2) An organization needs to ensure a “comparable level of protection while the information is being processed by a third party.” According to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, this means that the third party must provide a level of data protection comparable to the protection that would have been in place had the data not been transferred.[iv] (The protection should be generally equivalent, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be exactly the same across the board.)

3) “The organization shall use contractual or other means” to comply with legal privacy requirements. There should be a written agreement in every instance where personal information is transferred to a third party. A contract cannot transfer responsibility, but it can describe necessary measures a data processor must take to optimally safeguard personal information, and clearly delineate the responsibilities of each party.

In an effort to protect PI and reduce risks, PIPEDA’s restrictions encourage organizations to minimize data transfers, and only to use them for reasonable purposes.

Quebec has passed legislation[v] that imposes strict rules on private-sector organizations using, transferring, or disclosing personal information outside Quebec, even if the PI is being transferred to another Canadian province. Under the law, data transfer or disclosure is prohibited unless it can be guaranteed that the PI will not be used or disclosed for other purposes than those for which it was transferred, or disclosed to third parties without consent.

UNITED STATES: While no federal law creates a general requirement for data owners regarding data protection during transfer, sectoral laws may do so: for example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act imposes strict regulations on covered entities seeking to disclose personal health information to a service provider. State laws may also impose security standards; for example, California requires organizations transferring data to third parties to contractually oblige those third parties to maintain reasonable security protocols.

EUROPE: Free transfer of personal data within member states is integral to the founding principles of the EU. As long as the data is transferred in compliance with the strict requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation, the Regulation does not restrict data flows within the European Union or European Economic Area.

For further information on data transfers, and privacy compliance matters generally, see Waël Hassan’s book Privacy in Design: A Practical Guide to Corporate Compliance, available on Amazon.

A three-part series from KI Design:

ENDNOTES

[i] Trustwave 2013 Global Security Report, p. 10, online at: https://www.trustwave.com/Resources/Library/Documents/2013-Trustwave-Global-Security-Report/.

[ii] Patrick Thibodeau, “Offshore risks are numerous, say those who craft contracts,” Computerworld, 3 November 2003, p. 12, online at: https://www.computerworld.com/article/2573865/it-outsourcing/offshore-risks-are-numerous–say-those-who-craft-contracts.html.

[iii] For more information, see the OPC’s “Privacy and Outsourcing for Businesses” guidelines, online at: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/outsourcing/02_05_d_57_os_01/.

[iv] Office of the Privacy Commissioner, “Guidelines for Processing Personal Data Across Borders,” January 2009, online at: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/personal-information-transferred-across-borders/gl_dab_090127/.

[v] P-39.1 – Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector, online at:

http://www.legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/P-39.1.


Categories: social

Canada’s Digital Charter

Following the G7 meeting in Paris last week, the government of Canada announced its first ever Digital Charter. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, @NavdeepSBains unveiled the 10 principles meant to govern digital communications.

During the G7 World leaders and heads of global technology companies have pledged at a Paris summit to tackle terrorist and extremist violence online in what they described as an “unprecedented agreement”.

Known as the Christchurch Call, it was organised by New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, & Justin Trudeau in response to the attack on the Christchurch mosque on 15 March in which 51 people were killed.

The 10 principles of the Charter

1. Universal Access:

All Canadians will have equal opportunity to participate in the digital world and the necessary tools to do so, including access, connectivity, literacy and skills.

2. Safety and Security:

Canadians will be able to rely on the integrity, authenticity and security of the services they use and should feel safe online.

3. Control and Consent:

Canadians will have control over what data they are sharing, who is using their personal data and for what purposes, and know that their privacy is protected.

4. Transparency, Portability and Interoperability:

Canadians will have clear and manageable access to their personal data and should be free to share or transfer it without undue burden.

5. Open and Modern Digital Government:

Canadians will be able to access modern digital services from the Government of Canada, which are secure and simple to use.

6. A Level Playing Field:

The Government of Canada will ensure fair competition in the online marketplace to facilitate the growth of Canadian businesses and affirm Canada’s leadership on digital and data innovation, while protecting Canadian consumers from market abuses.

7. Data and Digital for Good:

The Government of Canada will ensure the ethical use of data to create value, promote openness and improve the lives of people—at home and around the world.

8. Strong Democracy:

The Government of Canada will defend freedom of expression and protect against online threats and disinformation designed to undermine the integrity of elections and democratic institutions.

9. Free from Hate and Violent Extremism:

Canadians can expect that digital platforms will not foster or disseminate hate, violent extremism or criminal content.

10. Strong Enforcement and Real Accountability:

There will be clear, meaningful penalties for violations of the laws and regulations that support these principles.

KI Design is a leader in dis-information and mis-information discovery, identification, and reporting. Follow @drwhassan or visit https://waelhassan.com


Categories: Privacy

Parliament Responds to the Standing Committee’s Report on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P. extends his gratitude for report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics titled, Privacy by Design: Review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. His response encompasses the following summary.

He shows his appreciation for the OPC and other witnesses that supported this study and states that the recommendations provide valuable guidance. The Government of Canada agrees that changes are required to ensure that the use of personal information in a commercial context has clear rules to support the expectations of Canadians.

A critical step was made with the announcement of new regulations under the PIPEDA on April 18, 2018, to assure Canadians that they will be informed about risks with the distribution of their personal information. The next step is to engage Canadians in conversations about data and digital issues on a national level.

Consent under the PIPEDA

The Government agrees that consent should remain a core element of the PIPEDA, as it provides individuals with control over how their personal information is shared. Maintaining a progressive view on consent additionally ensure that the internationally recognized standards align with those of Canada. However, there is work to be done to ensure that consent remains meaningful under the PIPEDA, as it can be enhanced in a variety of ways. Furthermore, the Government is committed to maintaining the principles-based approach to the PIPEDA, as it has been noted as a source of the Act’s strength.

In response to recent incident involving unintended uses of personal information from social media, the Government acknowledges the need to closely consider redefining “publicly available” information for the purpose of the PIPEDA. The amendments to the PIPEDA’s consent requirements resulted in consent only be considered valid if the individual can understand the consequences providing that consent. This was aimed to prohibit deceptive collection of a child’s personal information, however it presents unique challenges as it involves the definition of a minor, which is within provincial jurisdiction.

Online Reputation and Respect for Privacy

The Government acknowledges public concerns about the accumulation of personal information online and agrees that it poses a risk to privacy protection. Furthermore, the Government acknowledges the work by the OPC in this area and that there are legitimate concerns about the impacts of this position on other rights. Therefore, the OPC has called for further study to provide an appropriate balance between these competing rights.

Public commentary on the divergent views of these matters results in the need for providing further certainty on how the PIPEDA applied within various contexts is necessary to ensure a “level playing field”. The Government agrees that the appropriate destruction of information after it is no longer needed provides unintended future uses that can lead to harm on their reputation.

Enforcement Powers of the Privacy Commissioner

In agreeance with the Committee, the Government states that the time has come to closely examine how the PIPEDA’s enforcement model can be improved to ensure that the objectives are met of supporting innovation and growth of the digital economy, while providing robust protections for personal privacy. Similar recommendations were made by the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications.

In order to determine an optimal model for compliance and enforcement, the Government must assess all options that can strengthen the compliance and enforcement regime of the Act. As part of this assessment, the Government must look at other models of compliance and enforcement to consider potential impacts on the mandate of the OPC, the principles of fundamental justice, and the countervailing risks with increased powers. Options for change must also be assessed, including those regarding consent.

Impact of the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The Government supports the following: (1) Canada’s Adequacy Status (ref. recommendations 17-19) and acknowledges that data flows are a significant enabler in a growing digital economy. In discussion with trade partners, including the EU nations and institutions, the key is to work towards harmonization of different frameworks to ensure data protection is levels all jurisdictions. Officials are using a cross-government approach and working closely with the European Commission to understand the requirements for maintaining Canada’s adequacy standing under the EU GDPR.

The Committee’s study has made a significant contribution to this work by providing the government with recommendations to ensure effectiveness of the PIPDEA of international developments.

New Rights to Align with the GDPR

In recognition of the importance of interoperability of privacy regimes, in the GDPR the EU has added concept of “essential equivalence” to examine the adequacy of non-member regimes. Therefore, it is not clear that the PIPEDA’s requirements must reflect each of the GDPR’s right and protections in order to maintain its adequacy standing.

Moving forward, the Government will engage Canadians in a conversation on making Canada more data-savvy, focusing on how companies can use personal information to innovate and compete while protecting privacy. This is a value that Canadians hold dear.

Once again, thank you to the Committee on behalf of the Government for the careful examination of these important issues.


Social Media Analytics Drivers

By Aydin Farrokhi and Dr. Wael Hassan

Today, the public has remarkable power and reach by which they can share their news, and express their opinion, about any product or services or even react to an existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues. For example, in marketing, consumer voices can have an enormous influence in shaping the opinions of other consumers. Similarly, in politics, public opinion can influence loyalties, decisions, and advocacy. 

While increasingly organizations are adopting and embracing social media, the motive for each establishment to use social media varies. Some of the key drivers for adopting social media include:

Economic drivers:

 

 

Political drivers:

 

In general, there are three major categories of methods for analyzing social media data. These analytical tools can be grouped as either Content Analysis tools, Group and Network Analysis tools or Prediction tools.

 

 

 


Overcoming the Challenges of Privacy of Social Media in Canada

By Aydin Farrokhi and Dr. Wael Hassan

In Canada data protection is regulated by both federal and provincial legislation. Organizations and other companies who capture and store personal information are subject to several laws in Canada. In the course of commercial activities, the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) became law in 2004. PIPEDA requires organizations to obtain consent from individual whose data being collected, used, or disclosed to third parties. By definition personal data includes any information that can be used to identify an individual other than information that is publicly available. Personal information can only be used for the purpose it was collected and individuals have the right to access their personal information held by an organization.

Amendments to PIPEDA 

The compliance and enforcement in PIPEDA may not be strong enough to address big data privacy aspects. The Digital Privacy Act (Also known as Bill S_4) received Royal Assent and now is law. Under this law if it becomes entirely enforced, the Privacy Commissioner can bring a motion against the violating company and a fine up to $100,000.

The Digital Privacy Act amends and expands PIPEDA in several respects:

 

  1. The definition of “consent” is updated: It adds to PIPEDA’s consent and knowledge requirement. The DPA requires reasonable expectation that the individual understands what they are consenting to. The expectation is that the individual understands the nature, purpose and consequence of the collection, use or disclosure of their personal data. Children and vulnerable individuals have specific

There are some exceptions to this rule. Managing employees, fraud investigations and certain business transactions are to name a few.

  1. Breach reporting to the Commissioner is mandatory (not yet in force)
  2. Timely breach notifications to be sent to the impacted individuals: the mandatory notification must explain the significance of the breach and what can be done, or has been done to lessen the risk of the
  3. Breach record keeping mandated: All breaches affecting personal information whether or not there has been a real risk of significant harm is mandatory to be kept for records. These records may be requested by the Commissioner or be required in discovery by litigant or asked by the insurance company to assess the premiums for cyber
  4. Failure to report a breach to the Commissioner or the impacted individuals may result in significant

Cross-Border Transfer of Big Data

The federal Privacy Commissioner’s position in personal information transferred to a foreign third party is that transferred information is subject to the laws and regulations of the foreign country and no contracts can override those laws. There is no consent required for transferring personal data to a foreign third party. Depending on the sensitivity of the personal data a notification to the affected individuals that their information may be stored or accessed outside  of Canada and potential impact this may have on their privacy rights.

 Personal Information- Ontario Privacy Legislations

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Personal Health Information Protection Act are three major legislations that organizations such as government ministries, municipalities, police services, health care providers and school boards are to comply with when collecting, using and disclosing personal information. The office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) is responsible for monitoring and enforcing these acts.

In big data projects the IPC works closely with government institutions to ensure compliance with the laws. With big data projects, information collected for one reason may be collectively used with information acquired for another reasons. If not properly managed, big data projects may be contrary to Ontario’s privacy laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Categories: Security

The Necessity of Multi-Scanning

Last Friday, the WannaCry cyberattack effected more than 300,000 computers, impacting thousands of businesses, hospitals and enterprises, across 153 countries by taking advantage of outdated versions of Windows that never had updated Microsoft’s crucial security upgrades.

 

With the increasing amounts of advance threats by attackers and the overall skyrocketing growth of malware, relying on a single anti-malware engine is no longer sufficient for high-security networks.

 

Anti-malware, multi-scanning softwares are essential for improving security because they significantly increase the intensification of malware detection rates and consequently, reduce the susceptibilities created by a specific anti-malaware engine’s shortcomings.  Multiscanning refers to the process of running multiple anti-malware or antivirus engines concurrently. Multi-Scanning anti-malaware tools also have the added features of meaningfully reducing the number of days of exposure to new malware outbreaks and often can protect systems from malware targeting a variety of system at once, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems.

 

No single anti-virus software is perfect. Each product will have it’s own strength and weaknesses when it comes to detecting some threats. Likewise, every emerging threat that has the possibility to be detected, will be detected at a different rate by different engines Studies have found that no single engine detects every possible threat. Thus, it is only by combining multiple engines in a multi-scanning type of solution will all possible threats be detected quickly. One downfall of ‘multi-scanning incorrectly’, is that running multiple engines instantaneously can result in conflicts to your servers that lead to system freezes and application failures. Another downfall is that it increases the amount of false positives you can receive. Lastly, multi-scanning can be very costly, especially for smaller-scale enterprises.

 

Fortunately, many vendors have come up with technology that is able to conduct a multi-scan, and detect all types of malware in a single tool, without the hassle of licensing and maintaining multiple antivirus engines. Such vendors allow you to improve your malware detection, decrease the detection time of an outbreak and increase resiliency to antivirus engines’ vulnerability. However, determining the right number of tools or which one to select depends on the volume of the data being protected, the value of this data and the severity and frequency of potential attacks.

 

Security experts are predicting that malware attacks are expected to increase in frequency and severity, multi-scanning anti-malaware solutions can be our best line of defense.  Using anti-malware in a multi-scanning process, or tools that automatically multi-scan can be  used to ensure the safety of your organization’s servers, the email attachments you open, web searches, sending confidential files securely and much more. Multi-scanning allows users and enterprises to control their early detecting engines to detect spear phishing and other specific types of targeted malware attacks. This in turn, will allow them to take action as quickly as possible.

 

 


Categories: Security

Political Cyber Security

Political Cybersecurity

The daily life and economics of the global citizen depend each time more on a stable, secure, and resilient cyberspace. Even before was elected president, Donald Trump promised to make cybersecurity “an immediate and top priority for [his] administration.” Yet, months into his presidency, Trump and global leaders worldwide have struggled to deal with how policies should use their personal technology.

Cybersecurity has gotten sucked into the inevitable vortex of politicization.

Perhaps things first came into media attention when it was discovered that Hillary Clinton was using a private email server when she was Secretary of State. In response, Clinton has said that her use of personal email was in compliance with federal laws and State Department regulations, and that former secretaries of state had also maintained personal email accounts, though not their own private email servers. In a summary of its investigation into Clinton’s use of private email, the FBI concluded that a username and password for an email account on the server was compromised by an unknown entity, which had logged into the compromised email, read messages, and browsed attachments using a service called Tor. Unique to Hillary’s case is that the FBI had repeatedly noted that if a breach did occur that its agents might not be able to tell, but that there was no evidence previously to indicate that Hillary Clinton’s personal email account was hacked.

More recently, the campaign of the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was hit on May 5th, 2017 with leaked emails and other documents on a file-sharing website. Security analysts are under the impression that the huge leak of emails Macron’s campaign team might have been coordinated by the same group of individuals behind the Democratic National Committee leak that effected Clinton.  In fact, the Macron campaign directly compared the hacking directly to the hacker targeting of Clinton campaign, in a statement that read: “Intervening in the last hour of an official campaign, this operation clearly seeks to destabilize democracy, as already seen in the United States’ last president campaign. We cannot tolerate that the vital interests of democracy are thus endangered.”

However, with the ‘Macron-hack’ emerged as an anonymous poster provided links to documents on Pastebin with the message: “This was passed on to me today so now I am giving it to you, the people.” This serves as an example of how authentic documents can easily be mixed on social media with fakes to perpetuate fake messages that can harm political campaigns. While France’s electoral commission aimed to prevent this hack from influencing the election by warning local media that sanctions can be placed on them if they spread this information, the overall effect this link will have on Macron is unknown.

While we acknowledge that it is difficult to assess the impact of breaches done to a single account on a server, these incidences raise fresh questions about the security of other electronic accounts of politicians.

Politicians are particularly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats for the following reasons:

Despite which side of the political aisle your ideas land on, there is little debate that cybersecurity continues to be a hot issue.  Nowadays, for politicians, ignoring cyber issues could derail their career. Whether it be governments, individuals, or even campaign trails – the political cybersecurity world has experienced resurgence of threats.

Fortunately, the Blockchain’s alternative approach to storing and sharing information provides a way out of this security mess for four very important reasons:

  1. The decentralized consensus nature of Blockchains makes it almost impossible to break into it.
  2. Its platform agnostic, so it runs on any combination of operating system and underlying processor architecture.
  3. Once configured, it does not need an administrator
  4. Malware cannot break into it

A Blockchain is a register of records prepared in data batches called blocks that use cryptographic validation to link themselves together. Publishing keys on a Blockchain instead would eliminate the risk of false key propagation and enable applications to verify the identity of the people you are communicating with. Similarly, using a public Blockchain like Bitcoin would mean your entire system is decentralized with no single point of failure for attackers to target. As of right now, Estonia is one of the first countries to use Blockchain this way, although other governments are slowly warming up to Blockchain technology.

Moreover, there’s a rising tide for big data analytics to help combat cyber-threats and attackers. Social analytics tools can help be the first line of defense for politicians by combining machine learning, text mining modeling to provide an all-inclusive and amalgamated approach to security threat prediction, detection, and deterrence.
The cyberspace is the underlying infrastructure that holds the key to the modernity in technology. These types of threats are real and actively happening. The types of threats that have impacted politicians in the USA and Europe are real and actively happening. Blockchains and analytic tools will not be the golden ticket to fix everything that’s wrong with cybersecurity for politicians, but they can be a place to start. The Blockchain provides innovations that current systems and politicians could embrace.

For more information on how to protect yourself as a politician, please contact Waël Hassan, PhD.


Inappropriate Access detection using Machine Learning

Detecting Inappropriate Access to Personal Health Information

While PHIPA has served Ontarians well over the last decade, rapid changes in technology and communications are demanding that we keep pace. With the growing use of electronic health records, the province needs a legislative framework that addresses the rights of individuals and the duties and obligations of health care providers in an electronic environment. Modernizing PHIPA will pave the way for a smooth and seamless transition toward 21st century health care while protecting our privacy.”   – Brian Beamish, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

 

Event:  2016 PHIPA Connections Summit www.phipasummit.ca

Using Machine Learning Healthcare to detect healthcare snoopers

Talk By Dr. Wael Hassan and Dr. Daniel Fabbri

Open Electronic Medical Record (EMR) access environments trade clinician efficiency for patient privacy. Monitoring EMR accesses for inappropriate use is challenging due to access volumes and hospital dynamics. This talk presents the Explanation-Based Auditing System, which uses machine learning to quickly identify suspicious accesses, improving compliance officer efficiency and patient privacy.

 

Featuring:

Daniel Fabbri
PhD. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University,
Maize Analytics
Daniel Fabbri, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. He is also an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering. His research focuses on database systems and machine learning applied to electronic medical records and clinical data. He developed the Explanation-Based Auditing System, which uses data mining techniques to help hospital compliance officers monitor accesses to electronic medical records in order to identify inappropriate use. He received a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps award to commercialize this auditing technology at Maize Analytics. Beyond research, he has participated in the A World In Motion program, which teaches elementary and middle school children physics through weekly interactive experiments such as building toy cars powered by balloons. He received his doctorate in computer science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a bachelor of science in computer science and engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, he interned at Google, Microsoft Research, Goldman Sachs, Lockheed Martin and Yahoo. Students interested in research topics on machine learning, data management and the security of electronic medical records and clinical data? Please consider applying to the Vanderbilt Biomedical Informatics or Computer Science graduate programs. Selected Invited Talks: • The Open Web Application Security Project, Chicago, 2014. • Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance through HIPAA Security, U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Washington D.C., 2013. • Archimedes Workshop on Medical Device Security, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2013.
Wael Hassan
Founder: Big Data, Privacy and Risk,
Ki Design Magazine
Dr. Waël Hassan is one of North Americas leading advisors on privacy and cyber security innovation. He serves as an advisor for both the political and industry organizations to help them better understand privacy and cyber security technology & adoption. He has in-depth knowledge of privacy laws across Canada, EU, and the US, along with, holds the first Canadian PhD in Validation of Legal Compliance. In his role Waël advances his clients’ interests on a range of issues, including internet freedom, cyber security, surveillance, disaster response, product certification, and risk metrics. Dr. Hasan founded KI DESIGN Magazine, http://magazine.kidesign.net, where he writes a regular column. Waël’s highly anticipated book, Privacy in Design: A practical guide for corporate compliance will be released in Spring 2017.