OPC Chimes in on AI Wishlist Days Ahead of Expected PIPEDA Reform

As we brace ourselves for major shifts in our current Canadian privacy laws, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) is laying the groundwork for what they would like to see in a reformed PIPEDA, specifically pertaining to the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Earlier this year, the OPC issued an open consultation for reforming PIPEDA to ensure the appropriate regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). In this consultation the OPC was seeking to consult with experts as to how privacy principles can and should apply to the responsible development of AI. IAB Canada was one of the over 85 stakeholders who prepared a response which in turn, has fed into the OPC’s formal recommendation to law makers.

Today, the OPC has responded to those submissions and is formally calling for legislation that will allow both business and citizens to benefit from the emerging technology all while upholding an individual’s fundamental right to privacy.

Specifically, they are asking for amendments to PIPEDA that will:

  • Allow personal information to be used for new purposes towards responsible AI innovation and for societal benefits.
  • Authorize these uses within a rights-based framework that would entrench privacy as a human right and a necessary element for the exercise of other fundamental rights.
  • Create a right to meaningful explanation for automated decisions and a right to contest those decisions to ensure they are made fairly and accurately.
  • Strengthen accountability by requiring a demonstration of privacy compliance upon request by the regulator.
  • Empower the OPC to issue binding orders and proportional financial penalties to incentivize compliance with the law.
  • Require organizations to design AI systems from their conception in a way that protects privacy and human rights.

In addition, the OPC has also published today a separate report which builds on the OPC’S consultation proposals and goes further to inform the recommendations for law reform.  Echoing the persistent themes we have been hearing from the OPC for many months now this report goes into detail with recommendations for achieving a modern PIPEDA that protects privacy and human rights and acknowledges businesses’ legitimate interests in view of AI.

The OPC’s recommendations are grouped into four modules:

  1. A rights-based approach
  2. Flexibility measures
  3. Automated decision making and;
  4. Accountability

While the OPC has without a doubt, put a massive stake into the ground, it will be interesting to see how much of this will actually make it into PIPEDA. The policy team at IAB Canada is paying close attention and will keep you posted on any and every development that will inevitably impact our industry. We also continue to work on a comprehensive, flexible, technical privacy framework that will aid in compliance with these newly amended laws and invite you to join our privacy committee by emailing policy@iabcanada.com.