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Commissioner Ann Cavoukian Publishes Privacy and Personal Data Ecosystem Paper

TORONTO, ON, October 31, 2012 – Personal information – the new “oil” of the Internet – largely resides with organizations – removed from the individual’s sphere of control. The boundless potential of the Personal Data Ecosystem (PDE) is to place control of one’s personal information into the hands of the individual. The PDE is truly a game changer, and will move privacy well beyond laws, regulations and best practices, to create a privacy-protective relationship between individuals and organizations, says Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner.

In a new paper, Privacy by Design and the Emerging Personal Data Ecosystem, Commissioner Cavoukian and co-authors from the United States and the United Kingdom describe the systems and initiatives driving the PDE and how they seek to address the challenge of protecting and promoting privacy, while at the same time, encouraging the socio-economic opportunities and benefits of personal information as a new asset class. The paper features case studies of the Personal Data Vault and platform at Washington- based Personal Inc., and the personal data network belonging to San Francisco-based Respect Network, plus invaluable market data on the emerging PDE provided by Ctrl-Shift of London. The paper is being released in conjunction with SWIFT’s Digital Asset Grid announcement at the Sibos Conference in Osaka Japan, as well as in Toronto, London, Washington and San Francisco.

“Privacy is all about control – that is why I am taken with the promise of the emerging Personal Data Ecosystem. New technologies, such as the Personal Data Vault, give individuals a central point of control for their personal information and the ability to decide what information to share, with whom, and under what conditions,” said Commissioner Cavoukian. “I applaud my partners – Personal, Respect Network and Ctrl-Shift – for their leadership in taking a Privacy by Design approach. I thank them for sharing their experiences for others to follow in proactively embedding the strongest privacy protection possible into their designs.”

Privacy by Design was unanimously approved as an international framework for privacy protection in 2010, and has been translated into 25 languages. Privacy by Design seeks to proactively embed privacy into the design specifications of information technologies, organizational practices and networked system architectures. To achieve the strongest protection possible, PbD should ideally be applied when initiatives are in their nascent stages, including the emerging PDE.

“Dr. Cavoukian’s paper is essential reading to understand the tremendous opportunities for giving people true control and benefit over their information online,” said Shane Green, co-founder and CEO of Personal ( “Personal is the first commercially available platform to give individuals the ability to securely store, share and reuse all the important data, notes and files in their lives through a vault and personal network connecting them to trusted people, apps and organizations. Privacy by Design is embedded in our technology and business practices, as they must be in any company in the personal data sector to have trust and credibility with users.”

“Ann Cavoukian is synonymous with the phrase Privacy by Design, so it carries tremendous weight that she sees the emergence of the Personal Data Ecosystem as a game changer for the advancement of individual privacy online,” said Drummond Reed, Managing Director of the Respect Network. “The Respect Network is built on the PbD principles – even taking its name from one of them – so I highly encourage anyone concerned about the future of personal data and privacy to read this paper.”

“This paper sets the agenda for the future of privacy. It represents a long-needed breakthrough showing how privacy regulators can work with technological and commercial developments to cut through the barriers and realize the significant value of an individual-centric personal data ecosystem,” says Alan Mitchell, Strategy Director of Ctrl-Shift in London. “New types of services that put individuals in control of their data and enhance their privacy are a business opportunity in their own right. They also bring both efficiencies and innovation opportunities to the broader economy and society by putting data sharing on a new ‘win-win’ footing. This is an opportunity that must be seized.”

About the IPC

The Information and Privacy Commissioner is appointed by, and reports to, the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and is independent of the government of the day. The Commissioner’s mandate includes overseeing the access and privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the Personal Health Information Protection Act, which applies to both public and private sector health information custodians. A vital component of the Commissioner’s mandate is to help educate the public about access and privacy issues.

Media contact:

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