In the age of electronic information, Jennifer Stoddart, the federal government’s privacy commissioner, has one of the toughest jobs in Ottawa. How to keep masses of data, on everything from Canadians’ finances to their health, from falling into the wrong hands, especially hackers who amount to information thieves? This profile in the McGill News reveals that Stoddart’s office received 21 reports on data breaches in the first five months of 2008. Remarkably, those disclosures remain voluntary—and this story has Stoddart saying she wants them made mandatory. As well, she reveals how a Maclean’s Nov. 21, 2005, cover story, for which the magazine’s reporters made a point by obtaining her private cell phone records, prompted action. “This led to a major rethink of the customer authentication procedures at Bell and Telus,” she says.
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