Federal watchdog to look at sharing economy data use

Federal watchdog to look at sharing economy data use


The Federal Privacy Watchdog is turning its attention to the “sharing economy” for the first time. According to a report in The Star, the watchdog is concerned by the risk to private information posed by companies such as Uber and Airbnb.

Documents obtained under access to information law show privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien has tasked his office with considering the privacy risk of the sharing economy. The documents point to the watchdog wanting to know who in the sharing companies controls the data received. For example, Uber collects location and financial information of customers and drivers. The watchdog seeks to find what happens to this data.

“In the sharing economy, certain personal information — going well beyond that traditionally needed for reserving lodging and hailing taxis — is collected to establish identity and trust,” the documents read.

“It is of great concern what might happen with (personal information) in the sharing economy in the event of a breach, especially given lack of clarity regarding accountability.”

“I can tell you that we are still in the early stages of looking at this issue,” Tobi Cohen, a spokesperson for Therrien, wrote in an email.

“I can, however, confirm that we have received several complaints tied to the sharing economy.”

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