Tyee: TPP Deal Puts BC’s Privacy Laws in the Crosshairs
The TPP would render B.C. privacy laws useless. Speak out now to repeal this secretive, Internet-censoring deal at StoptheSecrecy.net Article by Scott Sinclair for The Tyee British Columbia's privacy laws are in the crosshairs of the nearly completed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. If you're wondering what the heck data privacy protections have to do with trade, you're not alone. Public awareness of the far-reaching, 12-country negotiation is scant, with polls showing three-quarters of Canadians have never even heard of the TPP.
Unfortunately for privacy advocates in B.C. and the rest of the country, the advancement of "digital free trade" is a high priority for the U.S. in the negotiations. This carefully chosen euphemism conjures up the free flow of information, the convenience of cloud computing, even escaping Internet censorship. It all sounds so positive.
The thing is, the TPP e-commerce chapter aims not only to free the movement of digital goods, such as software or downloadable music, but also to enshrine the rights of companies to freely move data -- including records of financial transactions, consumer behaviour, online communications and medical histories -- across borders. This personal data is much sought after by marketers, insurers and intelligence agencies that can build detailed profiles and histories of individuals, frequently without their knowledge or informed consent.
U.S. negotiators are pushing hard to eliminate national laws in TPP countries that require sensitive personal data to be stored on secure local servers, or within national borders. This goal collides with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Act and similar regulations in Nova Scotia, which are listed as "foreign trade barriers" in a 2015 United States Trade Representative (USTR) report.