Privacy Awareness Week 2020: COVID concerns and protecting personal information

What does privacy protection look like in your organization as you navigate the COVID-19 pandemic?

Has the move to virtual meetings and remote workspaces created security vulnerabilities within your organization? What steps can you take to address them?

Private sector organizations throughout British Columbia have had to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances brought on by the pandemic, with no shortage of improvisational skills coming into play. But as we adapt, the legal obligation to protect the personal information you collect, use and disclose, remains paramount.

Today, marks the beginning of Privacy Awareness Week (June 15-19) in BC.

The Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) launched Privacy Awareness Week in 2006 to raise awareness around privacy issues and the importance of protecting personal information.

The OIPC is proud to be a leading member of APPA and to take part in this year’s PAW  activities. This year’s PAW theme, “embrace the digital era with privacy in mind”, resonates with the types of challenges organizations are facing in the midst of this unprecedented crisis. Indeed, for many, the move into the digital space has been less of an “embrace” than full immersion due to a lack of options.

As the province moves beyond the strict social distancing measures of the early days of the pandemic, Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC, Michael McEvoy encouraged organizations to take a close look at how they’re protecting personal information during the crisis.

“What are the ramifications of the privacy protection efforts you're making today on the trust that your customers will have in the months and years ahead,” the Commissioner said.

This week, we’ll be sharing resources on our social media (Twitter, LinkedIn) accounts to help your organization ensure the personal information you collect, use and disclose is protected, even amid the most challenging circumstances.

If you would like to get a head start, check out the following guidance documents on our website:

Tips for public bodies and organizations setting up remote workspaces

Collecting personal information at food and drink establishments during COVID-19

Privacy Impact Assessments for private organizations

Privacy management program self-assessment

Top 15 Tips Mobile Devices: Tips for Security and Privacy

Protecting personal information away from the office

Privacy-proofing your retail business

Security Self-Assessment Tool

Our PrivacyRight program offers a suite of resources that can help you build a comprehensive privacy management program from the ground up.

Here are some highlights:

PrivacyRight Webinar 3 - Authority to collect, use, and disclose personal information

Webinar 4 - Understanding consent and notification

Webinar 5 - Security Safeguards:

Webinar 6 - Using and disclosing personal information

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