Canada’s federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) has been a benchmark for businesses in managing personal information. However, for organizations operating in Quebec, the introduction of Law25 (originally Bill 64) has changed the game. Although there’s a foundation of compliance in most companies through PIPEDA, Law25 introduces more rigorous standards. Here’s a roadmap for those who were already compliant with PIPEDA and are navigating the transition to Law25 compliance:
Revisit Consent Mechanisms
Automated Decision-Making and Profiling
Specific information obligations apply under Law25 when the business wants to render automated decisions, that is, decisions without any human oversight, on the basis of personal information collected by technological means. Furthermore, the business must inform individuals of technology used to profile, identify, or locate individuals by means of technology that allows for such functionality. In addition, by default, these functionalities must be turned off.
Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)
Law25 makes Privacy Impact Assessments mandatory for specific projects. A fundamental step in each PIA is understanding the data the business has. Private AI can help with that step, which can otherwise be difficult, particularly if the business deals with vast amounts of unstructured data. Leveraging its hyper accurate machine learning tool that can identify over 50 entities, classifying personal information in free text, images, audio, video and other unstructured data is simplified to three lines of code. Request an API key.
PIAs under Law25 are now mandatory for cross-border data transfers. These assessments must also assess the foreign jurisdiction to establish whether it provides adequate protection for the personal information transferred there. In addition, businesses must “conduct an assessment of the privacy-related factors of any project of acquisition, development and redesign of an information system or electronic service delivery involving the collection, use, communication, keeping or destruction of personal information.” Businesses need to integrate this practice into their data processing activities.
Right to Portability, to be Forgotten, and to Know the Source of Personal Information
A significant addition in Law25 is the right to data portability and the right to be forgotten. Organizations will need mechanisms to provide users with their data in a structured, standard format and to delete personal data upon request, going beyond PIPEDA’s access and correction rights. The good news is that this requirement is not going to come into force until September 2024. However, whether the regulator will be able to provide guidance by that time remains to be seen, hence compliance might pose challenges. The right to be forgotten in Law25 means the de-indexing of one’s name from a hyperlink attached to it. Another new right under Law25 is the right to request the source of one’s personal information that a business holds on the requestor. This would give the individual enhanced insights in instances where the business collects information from someone other than the individual themselves, which, by the way, is only permitted with consent or under otherwise limited circumstances.
Enhanced Data Breach Reporting
Although PIPEDA introduced mandatory breach reporting in 2018, Law25 has stricter requirements. The criteria for when a breach must be reported, and the associated penalties are more rigorous under Law25. For example, under Law25 the unauthorized use of personal information is now also considered a privacy incident, which was not the case under PIPEDA.
Appoint a Data Protection Officer
While PIPEDA already requires the designation of a person accountable for the business’s compliance with data privacy laws, Law25 assigns this role now by default to the person with the highest authority with the possibility to delegate this role or some of the responsibilities, in writing, to someone else.
- For the purposes of this Act, information concerning a natural person is anonymized if it is, at all times, reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances that it irreversibly no longer allows the person to be identified directly or indirectly.
Information anonymized under this Act must be anonymized according to generally accepted best practices and according to the criteria and terms determined by regulation.
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