Extent of how Canadians' online data used 'very surprising,' MP says
MPs spent 2 weeks grilling technology and social media companies about online privacy
It's known that companies use the information Canadians post online to target individuals, but the extent of how much that data is used is "very surprising," according to Kitchener Centre MP Raj Saini.
Saini, who sits on parliament's standing committee on access to information, privacy and ethics, has been taking part in hearings over the last two weeks looking at online privacy in Canada. Members grilled technology and social media companies, including Facebook, about how they use the data Canadians share online.
"Like most Canadians, I take certain things for granted," Saini said.
"Just realizing the extent of what is put out in the public and the extent of how that information is being used — to me it was very surprising."
- MPs call Facebook on the carpet to answer a question: can it be trusted?
- 'This Wild West era's got to end': Facebook breach energizes U.K. lawmakers
Committee members had the chance to question a number of key industry leaders, including Kenneth Chan, director of public policy for Facebook's Canadian division, and a representative from AggregateIQ.
A whistleblower has alleged AggregateIQ was used to sidestep the Brexit campaign spending limits — an issue which came up during the hearings and created heated debate.
- Canadian company linked to data scandal pushes back at whistleblower's claims
- U.K. commissioner accuses Canadian company of ducking questions about Brexit campaign
Although the alleged infraction occurred outside Canadian jurisdiction, Saini said it has implications for Canadians.
"If data is being used in a way which is not right in another jurisdiction, my responsibility — as a legislator — is to make sure that we have the proper in Canada to make sure Canadians data is protected," he said.
Saini said the committee intends to study the issue further in the weeks ahead and will invite more witnesses to appear for questioning.
Listen to the whole interview with MP Raj Saini: