Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner Participates in Online Privacy Sweep

May 9, 2014

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) of Alberta will participate in the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) 2014 International Privacy Sweep taking place from May 12 to 18.

The 2014 sweep involves 27 privacy enforcement authorities from around the world that will participate in a coordinated effort to examine privacy issues related to mobile applications.

The Alberta OIPC, along with the other sweep participants, will be looking at the types of permissions an app is seeking and whether those permissions exceed what would be expected based on the app’s functionality, and also how the app explains to consumers why it wants the information and what it will do with it.

“Our office will take a look at local apps that have a connection to Alberta in the private, public and health sectors,” commented Brian Hamilton, OIPC Director of Compliance and Special Investigations. “It is important that consumers really understand what they are agreeing to when they install an app on their mobile device. Transparency is key.”

The GPEN initiative is aimed at encouraging organizations to comply with privacy legislation and to enhance cooperation between privacy enforcement authorities. Concerns identified during the sweep may result in follow-up work such as outreach to organizations and/or enforcement action.

The results of the 2014 sweep will be compiled by GPEN and made public in the fall.