Political parties need strong privacy rules, independent oversight, commissioner says

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OTTAWA — The federal privacy commissioner says it would be a mistake to give political parties the ability to govern the way they manage Canadians' personal information.

Changes proposed in the latest Liberal budget would let parties collect, use, retain and dispose of data in accordance with their own policies.

Philippe Dufresne told a Senate committee today that parties should be subject to the internationally recognized privacy principles that govern the private sector and government.

He said Canadians deserve meaningful standards and independent oversight.

He told senators that for more than a decade, his office has dealt with complaints from voters about robo-calls and unsolicited holiday cards sent by political parties.

He argued that parties have access to sensitive personal information, and the changes proposed by the Liberals don't establish minimum requirements for handling that data.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2023.

The Canadian Press