CAQ wants to punish data leaks more severely

The Quebec authorities are on the upswing.

They would like to ensure that the various data leaks faced by their citizens are punished even more severely as a result of the negligence of companies and other organisations. In this way, those who are known to have a penchant for repeated leaks are at the foot of the Wall.

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To this end, Quebec Justice Minister Sonia Lebel has formulated a bill, which is supposed to allow the authorities, to impose fines of up to $25 million or in another sense nearly 4% of the company's global turnover, when the amount set is higher. "Our current laws lack bite," the Justice Minister said in the presentation of the draft legislation to condemn "deterrent sanctions" to offending organizations.

This is perhaps understandable when you consider that fines are set in the range of $1,000 to $10,000 in Canada, and in Quebec the minimum amount in terms of fines and $15,000. "Those who have experienced identity theft know this: the consequences can be very severe and follow you for many years," LeBel said at a press conference.

The bill described by Minister Lebel as "extremely strong", Bill 64, which aims to give citizens control over their personal data collected and generated during their use of certain digital services, while requiring organizations to take more responsibility in their handling of this information. And to highlight this objective and give it more strength, the Minister illustrated her remarks by using a fact that could be experienced by a large part of the Internet users. "You went shopping for a barbecue. All of a sudden on your Facebook and Instagram you are offered repeated barbecues. With the bill, I'm going to be able to disable that feature and tell me I want to shop for a barbecue without it getting bombed. She illustrated.

In other words, Canadian citizens will then have to give their free and informed consent for the use of their personal data by the companies concerned. That is, the organization that wants to use digital information from the user, will have to explain to him beforehand, how this information will be used. And this at every step.

Organizations will also have an obligation to make personal information anonymous, or destroy it when the intended use is no longer relevant. The most important thing about this project is that the user will have the opportunity to demand that his information be destroyed when he feels the need

In addition, all companies that have business in Quebec, will be forced to keep the Access to Information Commission and Quebec citizens informed in real time when a data leak occurs. In addition, they must also have complete records of all the privacy branches that their information system will encounter.

It should be noted that this bill is strongly inspired by the laws in force in Europe on the management and protection of personal data. It will apply, if passed by Parliament, to personal data produced by Quebec citizenship clients, companies that will be installed in the province to do business there. This, of course, includes federally chartered companies. The future law will also be applicable to the political party by certain provisions.

It will be up to the judges to determine the fixed amount of the fine taking into account the seriousness of the incident, such as the number of people affected, for example, whether the company has already received warnings if, this is a first conviction or if it has complied with certain basic measures. It is worth recalling, for example, that computer data of millions of Quebecers was compromised last year during several data leaks, one of the most serious of which affected nearly 4.4 million people affiliated with the Desjardins movement.

The bill will begin consideration by the next fall. What we can be sure of is that the Quebec government is very motivated on this issue.

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