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ETHI Committee Report

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LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS

As a result of their deliberations committees may make recommendations which they include in their reports for the consideration of the House of Commons or the Government. Recommendations related to this study are listed below.

 

Recommendation 1 on the application of privacy legislation to political parties:

That the Government of Canada amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act in order to subject political parties to it, taking into account their democratic outreach duties.

Recommendation 2 on the application of privacy legislation to political third parties:

That the Government of Canada amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act in order to subject political third parties to it.

Recommendation 3 on personal information protection oversight powers over political parties and political third parties:

That the Government of Canada grant the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and/or Elections Canada the mandate and authority to conduct proactive audits on political parties and political third parties regarding their privacy practices and to issue orders and levy fines.

Recommendation 4 on the financial resources of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner:

That the Government of Canada provide necessary new resources to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, so it can address modern privacy concerns and efficiently exercise the additional powers granted to the Commissioner.

Recommendation 5 on the foreign funding of political activities:

That the Government of Canada take all steps to prevent the foreign funding and influence in domestic elections, including foreign charitable funding.

Recommendation 6 on political advertising:

That the Government of Canada amend the Canada Elections Act to require an authorizing agent to submit identification and proof of address when placing political ads online.

Recommendation 7 on the creation of an online political advertising database:

That the Government of Canada amend the Canada Elections Act to require social media platforms to create searchable and machine-readable databases of online political advertising that are user-friendly and allow anyone to find ads using filters such as: the person or organization who funded the ad; the political issue covered; the period during which the ad was online; and the demographics of the target audience.

Recommendation 8 on regulating certain social media platforms:

That the Government of Canada enact legislation to regulate social media platforms using as a model the thresholds for Canadian reach described in clause 325.1(1) of Bill C‑76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and make certain consequential amendments. Among the responsibilities should be included a duty:

  • to clearly label content produced automatically or algorithmically (e.g. by ‘bots’);
  • to identify and remove inauthentic and fraudulent accounts impersonating others for malicious reasons;
  • to adhere to a code of practices that would forbid deceptive or unfair practices and require prompt responses to reports of harassment, threats and hate speech and require the removal of defamatory, fraudulent, and maliciously manipulated content (e.g. “deep fake” videos); and
  • to clearly label paid political or other advertising.

Recommendation 9 on algorithmic transparency:

That the Government of Canada enact transparency requirements with respect to algorithms and provide to an existing or a new regulatory body the mandate and the authority to audit algorithms.

Recommendation 10 on the taking down of illegal content by social media platforms:

That the Government of Canada enact legislation imposing a duty on social media platforms to remove manifestly illegal content in a timely fashion, including hate speech, harassment and disinformation, or risk monetary sanctions commensurate with the dominance and significance of the social platform, and allowing for judicial oversight of takedown decisions and a right of appeal.

Recommendation 11 on data portability and system interoperability:

That the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act be amended by adding principles of data portability and system interoperability.

Recommendation 12 on modernizing the Competition Act:

That the Government of Canada study the potential economic harms caused by so-called “data-opolies” in Canada and determine if modernization of the Competition Act is required.

Recommendation 13 on collaboration between the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner:

That the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Competition Act be amended to establish a framework allowing the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to collaborate where appropriate.

Recommendation 14 on cyberthreats for political parties and the Communications Security Establishment’s recommendations:

That political parties follow the recommendations made by Communications Security Establishment that pertain to them regarding electoral cybersecurity.

Recommendation 15 on the need to study cyberthreats:

That the government of Canada continue studying how cyber threats affect institutions and the electoral system in Canada.

Recommendation 16 on research regarding online disinformation and misinformation:

That the Government of Canada invest in research regarding the impacts of online disinformation and misinformation.

Recommendation 17 on education and digital literacy:

That the Government of Canada increase its investment in digital literacy initiatives, including for initiatives aimed at informing Canadians of the risks associated with the online prevalence of disinformation and misinformation.

Recommendation 18 on the addictive nature of some digital products:

That the Government of Canada study the long-term cognitive impacts of digital products offered by social platforms which create dependence and determine if a response is required.

Recommendation 19 on transparency:

That the Government of Canada enact transparency requirements regarding how organizations and political actors, particularly through social media and other online platforms, collect and use data to target political and other advertising based on techniques such as psychographic profiling. Such requirements could include, but are not limited to:

  • The identification of who paid for the ad, including verifying the authenticity of the person running the ad;
  • The identification of the target audience, and why the target audience received the ad; and
  • Mandatory registration regarding political advertising outside of Canada.

Recommendation 20 on implementing measures in Canada that are similar to the General Data Protection Regulation:

That the government of Canada immediately begin implementing measures in order to ensure that data protections similar to the General Data Protection Regulation are put in place for Canadians, including the recommendations contained in the report on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act tabled in February 2018.

Recommendation 21 on data sovereignty:

That the Government of Canada establish rules and guidelines regarding data ownership and data sovereignty with the objective of putting a stop to the non-consented collection and use of citizens’ personal information. These rules and guidelines should address the challenges presented by cloud computing.

Recommendation 22 on the Privacy Commissioner’s enforcement powers:

That the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act be amended to give the Privacy Commissioner enforcement powers, including the power to make orders and impose fines for non-compliance.

Recommendation 23 on the Privacy Commissioner’s audit powers:

That the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act be amended to give the Privacy Commissioner broad audit powers, including the ability to choose which complaints to investigate.

Recommendation 24 on the Privacy Commissioner’s additional enforcement powers:

That the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act be amended to give the Privacy Commissioner additional enforcement powers, including the power to issue urgent notices to organizations to produce relevant documents within a shortened time period, and the power to seize documents in the course of an investigation, without notice.

Recommendation 25 on the sharing of information between the Privacy Commissioner and other regulators:

That the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act be amended to allow the Privacy Commissioner to share certain relevant information in the context of investigations with the Competition Bureau, other Canadian regulators and regulators at the international level, where appropriate.

Recommendation 26 on the application of privacy legislation to political activities:

That the Government of Canada take measures to ensure that privacy legislation applies to political activities in Canada either by amending existing legislation or by enacting new legislation.