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The headlines were emphatic: "Quick wins amounted to little for NDP"; "Quick wins report lands with a dull thud." But behind the headlines something unsettling: a window into a culture of seeming impunity, where players are told anything goes, do whatever it takes to win.
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Elizabeth Denham has been B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner since 2010.
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health ministry firings, multicultural outreach strategy and what some are calling deletegate -- they demand finesse and there's a definite pattern to how the government goes about it. Its damage control manual seems to come with instructions: mix and match to fit, use sparingly and only as required.
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The directive comes in response to a stinging privacy report that identifies major failures in the access to information practices in Christy Clark's office and two other ministries.
The Canadian Press
This was a spring session that was full of blows to information rights in B.C. Changing the law to make sure nobody is able to be held legally responsible for their actions in misusing government information has been a common theme.
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B.C.'s privacy watchdog is calling for improved teamwork between the government and her office.
Cariboo Regional District Emerg. Ops Centre
Make no mistake: drugs are big business, even the behind-the-counter kind.
VICTORIA - A British Columbia First Nation has issued an eviction notice to Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III), the second such ejection aimed at the battered firm that was behind a massive tailings pond...
The Canadian Press
She ended her letter to the minister with a call to action: "It is vital for open and accountable government that, whatever the form of the entity, if it is carrying on public business, it should be subject to the [Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act]." Two and a half years later, there is still no sign of action from the government.
VICTORIA - Public bodies in British Columbia, including the provincial government, don't do enough to warn people about potential health, safety and environmental dangers, said the provincial privacy...
VICTORIA - Concerns about the amount and type of personal information disclosed in police record checks have prompted an investigation by B.C.'s privacy commissioner.Elizabeth Denham says citizens and...
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VANCOUVER - The provincial government has reinstated funding for a University of British Columbia program that independently assesses the effectiveness and safety of drugs covered under B.C's Pharmaca...
VICTORIA - British Columbia's Privacy Commissioner says the Liberal government leads the pack when it comes to making public information that's needed to complete a Grade 7 science project, but there'...
VICTORIA - The illegal release of personal information about nearly five million British Columbians by Health Ministry staff was a massive breach, says the province's privacy commissioner, who has rel...
Since 2009, the Liberals have shuffled ministers in and out of the Ministers of Citizens' Services and Open Government role so quickly that there's hardly been a chance to make any meaningful progress.
The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, sent all four parties a questionnaire pushing them for clear positions on how they would stop the erosion of our privacy rights and defend our access to government records through Freedom of Information. On April 30th, we received responses from the NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens (we've yet to hear back from the Conservatives). They all had interesting, if decidedly different things to say.
The phoney campaign has finally given way to the real thing. The writ is dropped, the legislature is dissolved and politicians are out on the hustings. And as voters know well, that means big, glitzy promises. But imagine promises that wouldn't need sod-turnings or ribbon cuttings? Meaningful promises that every party can sign-on to, because they're about good government, not party ideology.
A few short days from now, the writ will drop on the 2013 provincial election, kicking off twenty-eight days of heated campaigning. And while there's no shortage of issues for voters to consider, recent controversies around government secrecy and attempts to undermine Freedom of Information make it clear that information policy should be a top priority for voters.
Apparently the illegal scanning of licence plates by Victoria police will continue until fixes are implemented. Unlike their counterparts in Saanich and Ottawa, Victoria police have no intention of switching off the cameras during privacy compliance upgrades.
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In B.C. and across Canada, the past 12 months have seen information rights make headlines on a regular basis. And usually not in a good way. At the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, much of our year was spent (once again) in sparring matches with the provincial government over access, transparency, and privacy issues.
B.C.'s Information and Privacy Commissioner took a stiff shot at the use of Automatic License Plate Recognition technology by the Victoria police. But it will likely take more than just her efforts to bring this ever-expanding surveillance system back in line with privacy law. The RCMP simply shouldn't be running a surveillance system on people who haven't broken any law, and they shouldn't be able to take advantage of the federal-provincial jurisdictional split to do so either.
VICTORIA - A controversial technology administered by RCMP and used by police forces and law enforcement agencies across Canada to automatically scan licence plates violates some aspects of British Co...
The B.C. government sure does love secrecy for its educational institutions -- or at least their subsidiary companies. What the information and privacy commissioner said would be a relatively simple change to definitions was, according to a B.C. minister, a much bigger issue requiring consultations and even changes to other sections of the act. So, a year later, what has been done? In a word: nothing.
Our data published by the Chief Information Officer of B.C. reveal that the FOI situation in this province has gotten significantly worse over the last decade. It seems that thousands of those pesky records have simply disappeared. The figures beg an obvious question: what happened? What brought on this staggering decline in the government's ability to find records in response to FOI requests?
VANCOUVER - The British Columbia government responds to nearly a quarter of all requests under freedom-of-information laws by insisting it has no records to offer, according to statistics compiled by...
Nearly a quarter all general freedom of information requests filed with the government between July 2011 and July 2012 came back with no responsive records. None at all. Are FOI requests simply becoming too exotic and obscure? Are British Columbians suddenly asking for information about Sasquatch or Ogopogo? Or is there a bigger issue at hand -- a systemic, structural problem with the way the B.C. government is managing our information?
VANCOUVER - B.C.'s privacy commissioner wants to know if police are complying with privacy laws when they use cameras mounted on patrol cars to photograph vehicles and licence plates.Privacy commissio...
VICTORIA - British Columbia's privacy watchdog says social media should not be used to help organizations make background checks.Elizabeth Denham says using Facebook, Twitter and other sites to do the...
THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VANCOUVER - B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner is investigating the use of facial recognition technology and provincial driver's licences to identify people involved in...