While many citizens are concerned about their online privacy many do not know what happens to their data once it leaves Canada.
The results of a new survey suggest that concerns in Canada over online privacy is at an all-time high. And, citizens have said that surveillance by the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) is a particular worry.
The survey was conducted by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) which oversees the country’s .ca domains. It was found that a staggering 76% of Canadian citizens were concerned about data privacy. This number was a 12% increase from the previous year’s results.
The CIRA’s Internet Factbook 2017 shows that only a third of Canadian citizens were aware that some of their data is routinely routed through the USA. Many were also unaware that once their online data left Canada it was no longer subject to Canadian data security and privacy laws. And essentially this means that domestic privacy laws are irrelevant as data is passed into the USA and routinely monitored by the NSA.
It was also highlighted that information shared by Canadian citizens on US-based websites and social media services was all routed through the USA. Also noted was that many of the popular cloud storage services in Canada were based in the USA. This means that any data stored is likely to be subjected to NSA snooping.
Experts have said that the lack of public awareness about online data is worrying and there have been calls for the Canadian government to be more transparent about the issue. The concept of data localization is something that has been on the agenda for some time and would mean that data relating to residents of Canada is stored in Canada.
Which will, in turn, mean that it will be protected by Canadian law. The problem with the concept is that residents feel it is not being made a priority. It has even featured in discussions between the USA and Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. And the USA has stated that it is strongly against the notion.
It is believed that this is because the USA is keen to retain the data flow, therefore allowing the NSA to accesses as many online data as possible. Many have now criticised the Canadian government, saying that officials are too soft on the issue.
But companies are fighting back. Earlier this year, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced that it launched an online tool for all Canadian citizens to use. IXmaps enables Canadian citizens to see where their online data is being sent to.
Citizens of Canada are also being urged to sign up for high-quality market-leading VPN service. These services encrypt all online data to make it harder for the NSA and anyone for that matter to access it which will make it much harder for the NSA or indeed anyone else to access it.