Changing the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents (PIPEDA) regulations to allow collecting publicly available social media information without seeking owners’ consent would make it easy for companies like Clearview to operate is not welcome and change in law in information protection not good for Canadians. From a purely utilitarian perspective, changing the law to ease the gathering of publicly available social media information by companies like Clearview would create some happiness in the world. Easy access to such information would enable the companies like Clearview to leverage the information to generate profit. Such profit would make such companies’ owners happy. The government of Canada would generate more taxes and use the taxes to improve citizens’ happiness by providing essential services. Easing the gathering of such information would also help law enforcement agencies fight crime. Less crime would reduce crime-related unhappiness in society.

information protection not good for Canadians

Despite early predictions that the internet would spell the end of privacy, it continues to be vital to who we are

Changing the PIPEDA regulations to ease the gathering of publicly available personal information on social media would also lead to some unhappiness in the world. Many people have in the past detested the gathering and use of their publicly available information by third parties. Allowing companies like Clearview to use publicly available social media information for their ends would make many social media users unhappy. The services offered by companies like Clearview can also be used by criminals to harm innocent users. Thus, creating unhappiness among the harmed people.

The question of whether to ease the use of publicly available personal information on social media can be determined by judging if such easing would create more happiness or unhappiness. In my view, such a move would create more unhappiness than happiness in the world, as many people worldwide would fight the harvesting of their publicly available social media information without their consent.

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Impact Social Media Users’ Privacy

Changing Canada’s PIPEDA regulations to ease gathering publicly available personal information on social media would impact social media users’ privacy. Privacy regards a person’s control over their personal information. Eliminating people’s control over their private information compromises their privacy. An individual can freely choose to provide another individual or organization access to their personal information. Such access is often intended for specific purposes. For example, individuals provide banks with their personal information for banking and other specified purposes. Using such private information for purposes other than the agreed-upon purpose is often regarded as a breach of privacy and is punishable by law. Individuals who choose to share their private information with an organization can consent to the organization sharing that information with third parties for specified purposes. Many online sites nowadays require users to consent to the sharing of their personal information with third parties to use gain access to their services.

Intrusion of People’s Privacy

The consequence of adopting the proposed changes would be to further intrude on people’s privacy and changing information protection not good for Canadians. The reason why the changes would lead to the breach of individual privacy is that people on social media exercise their right to control their personal information when they choose to share some private information, like their photos and addresses, online. Sharing such information publicly on social media does not imply that the individuals intend the information to be harvested and used by third parties without their consent or that of respective social media sites. The only parties that are given some rights over the use of individual private information are the social media firms where people choose to share their information. Social media users provide such consent by agreeing to the social media platform’s terms. Any other party that harvests and uses such personal information without consent breach the privacy of information owners.

Harvest of Publicly available Personal Information

Changing regulations to allow individuals and organizations to harvest publicly available personal information on social media is not right. One reason why changing information protection not good for Canadians is that such a move would be wrong is that it would result in unhappiness for many people worldwide. The change in regulations would allow their information to be used for purposes they may not approve. Secondly, such a change in regulations would be detrimental to individual privacy. Individuals will lose the right to decide how their personal information is shared and used. The fact that the information is publicly available does not mean that it should be gathered and used by any individual or organization. A lot of individuals’ and organizations’ images can be accessed on search engines like Google Images, but individuals and organizations are not allowed to collect and use them without their owners’ consent. The status quo must prevail for privacy protection.