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Should Ottawa allow collection of personal financial data?


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Reports indicate that the federal government has permitted the financial and banking information of 500K Canadians to be secretively collected by Stats Canada. The Conservatives have challenged this practice in the House of Commons, however Trudeau's party apparently won't back down. I suspect that few question Stats Canada's motives but the issue of the security of such information might be a real concern. Given the revelation earlier this year that Stats Canada's security procedures may not be air-tight (see link, below), and given the growing sophistication of hackers and the government's general lack of transparency it's not unreasonable to assume that many Canadians might be uncomfortable about having their financial records collected by a government agency without their knowledge and consent.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/statistics-canada-census-lost-forms-1.4566263

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As Statistics Canada plans to build a massive new personal information bank with the real-time financial transaction data of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, Global News has learned the agency has scooped up 15 years’ worth of credit rating information from a major international credit bureau which could include millions of Canadians.

The data harvest was done without the consent or knowledge of those Canadians whose credit history was passed on Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada, which has broad powers to compel any organization to turn over data that organization collects, directed the credit bureau TransUnion of Canada Inc., based in Burlington, Ont., to provide social insurance numbers, names, addresses, dates-of-birth and detailed credit information, including balances owed, balances overdue, and more than 30 other fields or categories of data.

The requests occurred in October 2017 and more recently in January 2018.

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By law, Statistics Canada is not obligated to inform individual Canadians whose personal information it obtains from credit bureaus nor is it required to obtain the consent of Canadians, a practice Canada’s privacy commissioner has urged the federal agency to change.

Canada’s privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, noted in his recent annual report to Parliament that Statistics Canada is increasingly using its statutory powers to obtain detailed data about Canadians from their mobile phone companies, utility providers and credit bureaus.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4610259/statcan-canadian-personal-credit-bureau-data/

In thinking about the issues raised in the OP and in the media, it occurs to me that this data mining by the government and the bureaucracy is an opportunity for them to obtain a picture of how much money Canadians have in their savings and investments. Then, tax increases can be planned accordingly.

And another matter, Trudeau and StatsCan claim the data is made anonymous so nothing to worry about. But, the identity of the Canadians spied upon is not protected during the transfer from the financial institutions to StatsCan where presumably it is "anonymized".

As said by critics, this amounts to surveillance on unsuspecting Canadians. How soon will information on some Canadians come to Canada Revenue's attention and then flagged for audit. I don't believe that agencies and departments don't share private info, as required by the Privacy Act. We are well past the era where we can expect 100% integrity from them.

It's fitting we should discuss this on Halloween cause this should scare the hell out of concerned Canadians.

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4 hours ago, capricorn said:

In thinking about the issues raised in the OP and in the media, it occurs to me that this data mining by the government and the bureaucracy is an opportunity for them to obtain a picture of how much money Canadians have in their savings and investments. Then, tax increases can be planned accordingly.

 

You may be correct, and if so this is scary. The federal Libs love nothing more than social engineering and income redistribution schemes but money to cover these things is becoming more difficult to obtain. The attempt to raise taxes on high income earners hasn't yielded the revenue increases the government anticipated and Trump's tax reforms severely crimp the government's ability to further tax Canadian corporations. So, taxing and skimming from the taxpaying working and middle classes, about which the Libs barely consider if one is being honest about the situation, is their only option. If this is the purpose of the Lib's metadata efforts, they should be ashamed and the rest of us should be wary. The Libs latest trick is to create euphemistically named new taxes and justify them in moralistic terms. No "progressive" tax can be a bad thing, apparently. Presumably, they're figuring out how this smoke and mirrors tax strategy can be expanded. Ordinary Canadian taxpayers are just sitting ducks.

Edited by turningrite
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Trudeau should not be able to collect this data without our permission.  I have read that the RCMP considers it surveillance because it is an active and  ongoing process  (not solely a one time data grab ) so they would need a court warrant to obtain this level of financial information.   It is shocking that Ottawa can do this with no oversight.    

ETA:  According to Global News, “Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said in a statement Wednesday it’s launching the investigation after receiving complaints related to Statistics Canada’s collection of personal banking information. The announcement comes after Chief statistician Anil Arora defended the agency’s decision to compel the country’s nine largest financial institutions to turn over that data without their consent.”  https://globalnews.ca/news/4615008/statcan-defends-data-projects-privacy/

 

Edited by scribblet
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14 minutes ago, Queenmandy85 said:

If I feel comfortable sharing this information with my bank, I certainly trust Stats Canada with it.

Good for you. Some of us don't like the idea that StatsCan can access our banking records without our knowledge and consent. Looks like quite a few of us are in that camp and the Privacy Commissioner has taken notice.

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Privacy Commissioner of Canada launches investigation into StatCan over controversial data project

https://globalnews.ca/news/4615008/statcan-defends-data-projects-privacy/

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People who have online banking are giving out their personal information to the world. Never type anything into a computer that you don't want to read on the front page of the Globe and Mail. This issue is no different than whining about privacy, yet posting on Facebook. I trust Stats Canada a lot more than I trust a bank.

They need to gather the information so they can provide accurate and timely data for the formation of government and business policy.

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5 hours ago, Queenmandy85 said:

If I feel comfortable sharing this information with my bank, I certainly trust Stats Canada with it. As for the CRA, they can get this information without going through Sats Can. Why is a person worried about CRA. Just pay your taxes.

Nothing to do with CRA. How many people do I have to share my information with? Each new one is just another potential data breach. The point is, people who choose  an agency to share information with should not have that agency coerced into sharing it with another without their permission. Twenty years ago, collecting this much personal data would have been impossible, Statscan wants to do it now simply because it can. If someone doesn’t say no, then there is no limit to what they will be able to demand.

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7 minutes ago, Wilber said:

Nothing to do with CRA. How many people do I have to share my information with? Each new one is just another potential data breach. The point is, people who choose  an agency to share information with should not have that agency coerced into sharing it with another without their permission. Twenty years ago, collecting this much personal data would have been impossible, Statscan wants to do it now simply because it can. If someone doesn’t say no, then there is no limit to what they will be able to demand.

According to a news report earlier today, the information requested (demanded?) of Canadian financial institutions includes personal identifying information and most problematically S.I.N.s. To me, this is worrying. I accurately declare my income to the CRA each year and have no fear of my financial records getting into its hands but I have real concerns about why Stats Can would need or might otherwise use my confidential personal information. An item I watched on today's evening news indicated that among other objectives Stats Can could use the information to analyze consumer spending/purchasing patterns as this information could be valuable to businesses. So, is this some kind of revenue generation mechanism whereby Stats Can does market research based on information collected by government agencies (for other, legitimate, purposes) that it can then sell to private firms? If this is the government's intent, we should seriously ponder its implications. I believe the federal government owes it to Canadians to be much more transparent about this enterprise than has been the case to date.

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https://globalnews.ca/news/4610259/statcan-canadian-personal-credit-bureau-data/

By law, Statistics Canada is not obligated to inform individual Canadians whose personal information it obtains from credit bureaus nor is it required to obtain the consent of Canadians, a practice Canada’s privacy commissioner has urged the federal agency to change.

Statistics Canada is non-compliant with Canadian law.

Statistics Canada is operating with the understanding that Elizabeth the Second is "Queen".

Elizabeth the Second is not Queen of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland", contrary to the requirement in this Fifth Schedule, which states:

"Oath of Allegiance

I A.B. do swear, That I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Note. The Name of the King or Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the Time being is to be substituted from Time to Time, with proper Terms of Reference thereto.".

Elizabeth the Second claims to be Queen of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

The provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick expressed their desire to be federally united into one Dominion under the Crown of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland", not the Crown of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", according to the British North America Act, 1867.

Edited by dpwozney
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4 hours ago, Boges said:

JT is a moron. In what world does he think people would support this? 

 

It looks like nobody was paying much attention until the issue was raised in Parliament a few days ago. The notion that the Trudeau government would usher in an era of transparency and respect for Canadian citizens is obviously laughable.

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4 hours ago, Boges said:

JT is a moron. In what world does he think people would support this? 

 

 

Agreed....Justin Trudeau had firmly established that he is a moron even before this bone headed move.

This Stats Canada invasion of privacy will cost his party even more votes.

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On 10/31/2018 at 10:30 PM, Queenmandy85 said:

People who have online banking are giving out their personal information to the world. Never type anything into a computer that you don't want to read on the front page of the Globe and Mail. This issue is no different than whining about privacy, yet posting on Facebook. I trust Stats Canada a lot more than I trust a bank.

They need to gather the information so they can provide accurate and timely data for the formation of government and business policy.

I am concerned about the data collected, but I am more concerned about how secure the stored data is. Shared Services has not had a great track record on anything. Why would you trust them to secure the data from hackers?

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Pretty simple to defuse most concerns. The government could just give us three examples of programs where the specific data that they are accessing would be helpful - and why. It's called communicating.

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On 10/31/2018 at 10:30 PM, Queenmandy85 said:

People who have online banking are giving out their personal information to the world. Never type anything into a computer that you don't want to read on the front page of the Globe and Mail. This issue is no different than whining about privacy, yet posting on Facebook. I trust Stats Canada a lot more than I trust a bank.

They need to gather the information so they can provide accurate and timely data for the formation of government and business policy.

In terms of online banking, you are not going to get a more secure IT system than what you get with the banks.

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On 11/1/2018 at 8:47 AM, Boges said:

JT is a moron. In what world does he think people would support this? 

 

In his Liberal/liberal left wing lunatic world.

You can see that right here on this site and in this thread.

Edited by cannuck
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On 11/5/2018 at 3:50 PM, GostHacked said:

In terms of online banking, you are not going to get a more secure IT system than what you get with the banks.

Where did you come up with this? A friend of mine who has worked in the IT security field, including in the financial and telecom sectors, has told me that he believes that IT security is not as solid as many consumers believe to be the case. He steadfastly refuses to use online banking systems. I can't believe, then, that government systems are any more secure.

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