BUSINESS

TPP Trade Deal's Data Provisions Could Put Sensitive Canadian Info At Risk: Critics

11/05/2015 05:02 EST | Updated 11/05/2016 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA — Analysts say the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal places sensitive Canadian data such as health records at risk through provisions that open the door wider to cross-border data flows and offshore record storage.

The text of the deal between Canada and 11 other nations, made public Thursday, says countries must allow the business-related cross-border transfer of information — including personal data — by electronic means.

It also effectively bars governments from insisting on the use of local computer servers to store and access personal data — meaning the information could be hosted abroad and possibly more accessible to foreign police and security services.

In both cases, exceptions may be made for legitimate public policy objectives, but University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist says that still leaves quite a bit of uncertainty.

Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland says the new Liberal government is committed to reviewing the agreement and giving Canadians time to comment on it.

The previous government hailed the deal as a means of ensuring Canadian access to a market of nearly 800 million people.