Canadians need to take more responsibility for internet privacy in an age where increasing openness is being exploited by online fraudsters, according to Canada’s privacy commissioner.
“Many young people are choosing to open their lives in ways their parents would have thought impossible and their grandparents unthinkable,” Jennifer Stoddart notes in her annual report to Parliament, which was tabled Tuesday.
“Their lives play out on a public stage of their own design as they strive for visibility, connectedness and knowledge,” she wrote.
Stoddart’s report looks at 2008 privacy complaint investigations; technology and privacy issues; and the commissioner’s efforts to encourage the development of international privacy standards.
She warned that young people may be too open with their personal information online.
“Such openness can lead to greater creativity, literacy, networking and social engagement. But putting so much of their personal information out into the open can also … leave an enduring trail of embarrassing moments that could haunt them in future,” the commissioner says in her report.
More and more, there are reports of people being fired and missing out on job interviews and academic opportunities because of remarks or postings they have made online in the past.
In some cases, people have mistakenly thought email conversations and wall postings were actually private, when they were in fact public, and have had to deal with the fallout.