March 24, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Personal data of Quebeckers | The Watchdog calls for “weapons” and its independence

Personal data of Quebeckers |  The Watchdog calls for "weapons" and its independence

(Quebec) The watchdog of Quebeckers’ personal data wants to gain its independence from the government, which will provide less funding. The Information Commission will have to double its staff to do its job as the state is considering collecting biometric data on citizens.

Posted at 5:00 p.m.

Charles Lecavalier

Charles Lecavalier

“I do not know [qu’on est] Teethless, but we bite when needed. We were given teeth in legislative terms, but […] To enforce the law strictly, it takes up arms, “said Diane Poitras, president of the organization, in an exclusive interview. Press.

Over the past year, the Commission has adopted the d’accès à l’information (CAI) new missions, taking five legislative measures that require further oversight. CAI has 77 employees. To get her new job, she needs another 79 people. But she was hungry. Minister Eric Khair, who is in charge of the file, told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that it was not possible to increase the company’s budget to nearly 12 million because of the budget constraints associated with the epidemic.

Photo by Graham Hughes, Canadian Press Archives

Eric Khair, Minister of Cyber ​​Security and Digital and Minister of Information Access and Personal Information Security

But for M.And Poitras, this situation is unusual, because it is Mr. who decides her budget. Care should also oversee her. This he, in particular, wants to establish a digital identity. In this context, during the study of the Secretariat’s allocations for information, “the situation proves more than ever that the budget decisions of the CAI should be protected. [du gouvernement] She also has the responsibility of overseeing him.

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“You can not imagine that the budget of the Auditor General or the Public Protector will be decided by the government. Parliamentarians decide their budget, ”she said in an interview. She believes her body should have the same “independence” and “ability to fulfill its command” as AG. MAnd Poitras believes that almost all of his colleagues in other provinces and at the federal level are independent of the government.

Important missions

For example, she wonders if the Legal government is using biometric data, but it does not have all the resources to properly monitor this digital transformation.

This is not uncommon, using biometric information by the state. It takes body features to convert them into data. Intrusion on its own.

Diane Poitras, President of the Commission d’Access a l’Information

In the event of an abuse or data leak, it questions the “ability of the citizen to identify themselves”. “You can not replace your face, your finger, your hand,” said MAnd Chest. For example, she is concerned about the “expansion of biometric data banks”.

With such a small budget, it can be assumed that file processing times at CAI will be just as long. “New responsibilities assigned to us, they enjoy the same fate. We can not process them as soon as possible, ”she fears.

And the watchdog can’t do “proactive monitoring.” “Most projects have been announced or are in progress: Digital Transformation, Digital Identity, Health Reform, just three. She says it is our role as a monitoring body to handle all of this in a compliant manner.

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Support from liberals

Liberal MP Gaton Barrett came to M’s defenseAnd Chest. “She has not fulfilled her new responsibilities with the budget allocated to her,” he said.

Photo by Francis Wachon, Canadian Press Archives

Gaton Barrett, member of the Liberal Party of Quebec

According to Act 64 on personal information alone the CAI is required to carry out almost twenty new tasks.

She must:

  • Legal responsibilities of businesses, public institutions and regional political parties, especially new ones (it is estimated that more than a hundred researches a year will increase in three years).
  • Conduct inspections on new legal obligations (approximately twenty per year);
  • Process privacy reporting and confirm follow-up (significant increase expected by September 2022 – other provinces and federal government suggest 400% increase).

“He’s an information watchdog, and the minister knows, he’s going to dissect him,” MP Gaton Barrett denied. In his opinion, the Legalt government is “endangering the security of Quebecs’ personal information” with this budget option.

In a parliamentary committee, Mr. 12.5 million claimed by Barrett Eric Kair.And Only a drop in the bucket of poitrus compared to the Ministry of Cybersecurity budget.

“There are 12.4 million peanuts that need to be explained to taxpayers who are currently reporting the tax,” Mr Khair replied. He believes the CAI will be able to do its job with an increase of 1.5 million in 2022-2023 with the budget allocated to it.