EDL Update: Canada backpedals on sharing personal database with U.S.

An update to my last post concerning the location of the EDL databases: Jim Bronskill, with the Canadian Press, is reporting that the CBSA and Canadian authorities are shelving ideas to place the EDL data in the United States. While this certainly alleviates some of the privacy-related concerns with the EDLs, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada put it well:

“All in all, we are pleased to see that they listened to some of our recommendations, but we remain hopeful that they’ll heed to many of our other concerns,” said Anne-Marie Hayden, a spokeswoman for Stoddart. (Source)

It is nice to know that a massive amount of personal information isn’t being stored in the US for cost management reasons, but this doesn’t alleviate worries that the RFID chip in the EDLs might still be used for mass surveillance purposes. While the privacy commissioners of Canada have recently commented on this to the press, warning businesses that they need to be compliant with law when collecting license information, their need to publish this statement clearly suggests that businesses are not remaining compliant with the law concerning non-RFID licenses. To me, this suggests that there either needs to be some very real coercive ‘convincing’ applied to businesses so that they learn to comply with the law, or that this issue should be used to publicly advocate for modifications to the proposed EDL schemes (e.g. being able to disable the RFID with an on/off switch).