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    Canadian Privacy Commissioner Launches Public Consultation on Cloud Computing

    Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has announced a new public consultation “on the privacy issues related to cloud computing practices and their implications for individuals, organizations, and businesses.” To participate, visit: http://www.priv.gc.ca/resource/consultations/notice-avis_02_e.cfm.

    The aim of this consumer consultation is to learn more about cloud computing technology, explore its privacy implications, and find out what privacy protections Canadians expect with respect to cloud computing. The consultation is also intended to promote debate about the impact of these technological developments on privacy, and to inform the next review process for the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). […]

    The consultation will begin with an open period for the submission of comments or papers by interested parties. The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2010. This will be followed by a focused panel discussion in Calgary in June. The Office welcomes applications for panel participation from a broad range of participants. Some audience seating will be available, and the event will also be webcast. […]

    Proponents of cloud computing have highlighted its advantages, including free or low-cost use of file storage space and easy access to data and computer programs by users, regardless of their location. Businesses and consumers can use powerful computer hardware and software without having to purchase it themselves, giving them a simple and less-costly way to manage and store information.

    However, critics have warned about privacy and security risks arising from data storage on remote computers. For example, cloud computing services collect and store increasingly large amounts of information, and users may lose control over who has access to this information, where it may be stored, and how it might be used, retained, or disclosed. Because data stored within a cloud can be stored in different countries, and may be transmitted to computers in different geographic locations, the information may be subject to the laws of the specific location of the physical computer that holds the data.

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