Albertans’ Personal Information Not Exposed to the PATRIOT Act

March 5, 2004

Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work wants to assure Albertans that their personal information is not within reach of the USA Patriot Act.

Work is commenting on recent media reports from British Columbia indicating that provincial privacy offices are “scrambling” to find ways to prevent the Federal Bureau of Investigation from accessing personal information of Canadians from U.S.  companies outsourced to do provincial government work.

“As soon as we became aware of the issue we made inquiries to Alberta Government Services and the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Our initial indications are that Albertans’ personal information is not presently held in places where it would be vulnerable under the USA Patriot Act,” says Commissioner Work.

“In 1997, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner recommended to the Government of Alberta that any outsourced information management should be located in Alberta first and Canada second,” Work adds.

In response, the Alberta Government issued a draft policy reflecting current practice, which is consistent with the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s recommendation.