The Committee notes that
On May 8, 2012 [it] agreed to undertake a study on the efforts and the measures taken by social media companies to protect the personal information of Canadians, and to report the Committee’s findings back to the House of Commons.
On May 29, 2012, the Committee held its first hearing on this matter. Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, appeared before the Committee and gave a brief overview of the social media industry, what it does and how its activities have an impact on the privacy of Canadians. In the Commissioner’s words:
Social media involve applications that allow individuals, organizations, and communities to share information and to generate content.
Commissioner Stoddart went on to highlight the four areas of privacy protection which most concerned her Office — accountability, meaningful consent, limiting use, and retention — giving the Committee a first framework for studying this vast issue.
Between May 29 and December 11, 2012, the Committee dedicated 15 meetings to the study, heard over 30 witnesses representing government, academia, public interest groups and the private sector, and received several written submissions. The Committee also travelled to Washington, D.C. in early October to meet with U.S. privacy experts and officials.Recommendations in the report are as follows -
R1 The Committee recommends that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada establish guidelines directed at social media and data management companies to help them develop practices that fully comply with PIPEDA, particularly accountability and openness.
R2 The Committee recommends that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada establish guidelines directed at social media and data management companies to help them develop policies, agreements and contracts that are drafted in clear, accessible language that facilitates meaningful and ongoing consent.
R3 The Committee recommends that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada establish guidelines directed at social media and data management companies to help them put in place mechanisms that ensure individuals have access to any personal information that those companies may hold about them, that limit how long those companies hold on to that information and that facilitate the deletion of such information.
R4 The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada and social media companies continue to provide support to organizations that provide education and training on digital activities and privacy.
R5 The Committee urges social media companies to play a larger role in promoting safe and active online activities that protect the privacy and personal information of individuals, particularly in regard to vulnerable groups such as children and young persons.
R6 The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada and social media companies continue to provide support to organizations dedicated to educating and promoting awareness to children, their parents and teachers to protect their personal information and privacy online.
R7 The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada continue to provide support to digital literacy programs.