— Marvin Van Horn (@FATCA_Fallout) April 19, 2014
Just_Me tweeted this today and it brings to mind some of the concerns arising out of the beginning of the end of any kind of privacy as we know it whether it be financial, medical or just plain personal. This article also reminded me of some of Abby Deshman’s points at the Pathways2Privacy Symposium which some Brockers attended on March 20-21 in Toronto. I was shocked to find out that the police keep a file on each and every type of contact made with the public. Examples are making 911 calls, criminal convictions, acquittals, stay-of-proceedings, not-criminally responsible verdicts, suspects never charged and even casual police contact. I was even more shocked to hear that there is almost no privay protection for this information and that the police routinely release such information on demand for servicing or on demand by the community. (!) In addition, there is a growing industry in Canada and the US (and possibly now, the UK) of selling this information to 3rd party providers. This amounts to the police making a profit from releasing records that most of the public believes and expects to be private.
Consider these statements from the BBC article:
“If given the go-ahead it would allow HMRC to release anonymous tax data to third parties including companies, researchers and public bodies.”
“But concern has been raised over the plans in the wake of the Care.data initiative – a proposed anonymous sharing of NHS medical records – which is currently suspended after fears were raised as to exactly what information would remain anonymous.”
“Mr Davis told the Guardian: “The officials who drew this up clearly have no idea of the risks to data in an electronic age.”
“Our forefathers put these checks and balances in place when the information was kept in cardboard files, and data was therefore difficult to appropriate and misuse.”
“It defies logic that we would remove those restraints at a time when data can be collected by the gigabyte, processed in milliseconds and transported around the world almost instantaneously.”
A HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC would only share data where this would generate clear public benefits, and where there are robust safeguards in place.”
As if there are not enough threats to our personal privacy already in place (local police, FATCA-IGA on the horizon and the NSA), should we expect to hear soon that THE CRA will be selling “anonymous” tax data to third parties?