The $4 trillion question – CBA National magazine

Adam Kardash

Mar 28, 2017

According to Agnese Smith’s article in the Spring 2017 issue of the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine, experts predict that the digital economy will contribute upwards of $4 trillion to major economies. However, consumers are concerned about their online privacy and regulators are grappling with how to protect that privacy without inhibiting growth in the all-important industry.  

Smith canvasses a wide range of privacy specialists for their opinions about the ways companies are gathering – and using – consumers’ personal and confidential information, as well as online users’ reactions to that data mining. The author also discusses existing and proposed legislation surrounding obtaining users’ informed consent and businesses’ obligations to make it clear how they plan to use and store consumers’ private information. The article states that the Canadian legal community in general maintains that the current regime under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act offers adequate safeguards for the public and that introducing stricter regulations could “muddy the waters” for the tech industry. Adam Kardash, head of Osler’s privacy and data management group, weighs in on this aspect of the debate.

“Stifling innovation is the biggest risk,” explains Adam. “We already have a legislative framework and an enforcement authority, which seems like a system that should be kept in place. What could be useful is some surgical changes, including broadening the grounds on consent.”

To learn more about ongoing efforts to protect online privacy without stifling innovation, read Agnese Smith’s full article, “The $4 trillion question,” in the Spring 2017 issue of CBA National magazine.