Privacy Laws Lookup

Canadian Data Protection Authorities

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Department Title: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (View Website)
Head Authority: Daniel Therrien — Privacy Commissioner
Contact: Contact the Information Centre
Law Information:
 Summary of privacy laws in Canada
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (View Website)
Head Authority: Ms. Jill Clayton — Commissioner
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Colombia (View Website)
Head Authority: Michael McEvoy — Commissioner
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Office of the Ombudsman (View Website)
Head Authority: Jill Perron — Ombudsman
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (View Website)
Head Authority: Charles Murray — Ombudsman
Law Information:
Social: Facebook

Department Title: Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nova Scotia (View Website)
Head Authority: Tricia Ralph — Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories (View Website)
Head Authority: Elaine Keenan Bengts — Information and Privacy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories
Law Information:

Department Title: Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nunavut (View Website)
Head Authority: Elaine Keenan Bengts — Information and Privacy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories
Law Information:

Department Title: Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (View Website)
Head Authority: Brian Beamish — Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Information and Privacy Commissioner of Prince Edward Island (View Website)
Head Authority: Karen A. Rose — Information and Privacy Commissioner
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Quebec (View Website)
Head Authority: Diane Poitras — President
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Information and Privacy Commissioner of Saskatchewan (View Website)
Head Authority: Ronald J. Krunzeniski, Q.C. — Information and Privacy Commissioner
Law Information:
 Legislation Tab
Social: Twitter

Department Title: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Yukon (View Website)
Head Authority: Diane McLeod-McKay — Ombudsman/Information and Privacy Commissioner
Law Information:
Social: Twitter

Glossary of Computer Terms



Software that displays advertisements on your computer. Adware becomes a problem if it:

  • installs itself on your computer without your consent;
  • installs itself in applications other than the one it came with;
  • hijacks your web browser in order to display more ads;
  • gathers data on your web browsing without your consent and sends it to others;
  • is designed to be difficult to uninstall.

Adware can slow down your computer and your Internet connection.

Anti-virus Software (AVS)


Software that defends against viruses, Trojans, worms and spyware. Anti-virus software uses a scanner to identify programs that are or may be malicious. Scanners can detect known viruses, previously unknown viruses and suspicious files.



The provision of assurance of the claimed identity of an entity.


A system which allows computer programs to accomplish repetitive tasks, or tasks which occur upon certain triggers, to accomplish the outcome quicker and more efficiently.



An online graphic representation of a user (e.g. chat rooms and computer games).


Backing up


The procedure for making extra copies of data in case the original is lost or damaged.



A backdoor in a computer system is a method of bypassing normal authentication or securing remote access to a computer, while attempting to remain hidden from casual inspection.



A measure of the “speed” of an Internet connection. The rate at which information travels through a network connection, usually measured in bits per second, kilobits (thousand bits) per second, or megabits (million bits) per second.

“Bash board” 


A series of harsh online written attacks.



A series of harsh online written attacks.



Is a process whereby a system (typically a victim) sends a contact message to another system (usually an intruder’s control system). This process is done to notify to an intruder that a system is active and remains infected.



To stop a computer from reaching something on the Internet, or to stop someone from contacting you.



An industry standard for short-range wireless connections between devices like mobile phones, headsets, computers and PDAs.



Similar to a real-life bookmark, an Internet bookmark acts as a marker for a web page.



A single compromised computer (a robot computer) sometimes called a zombie. A program covertly installed on a user’s machine to allow an unauthorized user to remotely control the targeted system through a communication channel.  These channels allow the remote attacker to control a large number of compromised computers in a botnet, which can then be used to launch coordinated attacks. Attackers can use bots to perform a variety of tasks, such as setting up denial of service attacks against an organization’s website, distributing spam, spyware and adware, phishing attacks, propagating malicious code, and harvesting confidential information.



A collection of compromised computers (bots) running malicious applications without the knowledge of the user via a command and control infrastructure.

Browser (Web browser)

A program that allows a user to find, view, hear, and interact with material on the Internet, including text, graphics, sound, and video.

Browser hijackers
(Pirates de navigateur)

Browser hijackers change the default home and search pages in your Internet browser. Some websites run a script that changes the settings in your browser without your permission. This hijacker can add shortcuts to your “Favourites” folder or, more seriously, can change the page that is first displayed when you open the browser. You may find that you cannot change your browser’s start page back to your chosen site.

Buddy list
(Liste des copains)

A collection of names/screen names that represent friends within an instant messaging, chat program or social networking site.


Someone who witnesses bullying.


A unit or measure of digital information, consisting of eight binary digits (bits) processed together; usually enough to store a single letter or digit.



A component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. The data that is stored within a cache might be values that have been computed earlier or duplicates of original values that are stored elsewhere. The term cache often refers to the browser cache, which records the most recently downloaded web pages.


Refers to an individual assuming a false identity online, in particular to pursue emotional/romantic relationships in the virtual world.


An encrypted file containing user or server identification information, which is used to verify identity and to help establish a security-enhanced link.  An entity’s data rendered unforgeable with the private or secret key of a certification authority.


An online conversation where a person can continually read messages from others in the chat room and then type and send a message reply.

Chat room 

A site on the Internet where a number of users can communicate in real time (typically one dedicated to a particular topic).

Cloud Computing
(Informatique dans les nuages)

The ability to access all required software, data and resources via a computer network instead of the traditional model where these are stored locally on a user’s computer.

Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)
(Équipe d’intervention en cas d’urgence informatique)

A group which is responsible for responding to computer related security incidents outside of typical information technology support roles.


A file placed on your computer by a website to enable the website to remember your details and track your visits.


Similar to stalking in the real world, creeping is intently following someone online through their status updates, profiles, photos, etc.


The discipline that embodies principles, means, and methods for the transformation of data in order to hide its information content, prevent its undetected modification and/or prevent its unauthorized use. The conversion of the information into this new protected form is referred to as encryption. The conversion of information back to its original form is decryption.

Cyber Attack

A form of cyber war, whether combined with a physical attack or not, which is intended to disrupt an adversary’s information dependent systems.


The term ‘‘cyber” means-
(A) any process, program, or protocol relating to the use of the Internet or an intranet, automatic data processing or transmission, or telecommunication via the Internet or an intranet; and 
(B) any matter relating to, or involving the use of, computers or computer networks.


Bullying or harassment that takes place online; includes posting embarrassing pictures or unkind comments on a person’s profile or sending them via instant message or email. Thus often takes the form of threats and intimidation against the victim.


Repeated, intense online harassment and denigration that includes threats or creates significant fear.



Decoding of a message which has been encrypted.  

(Défaut, par)

A setting automatically chosen by a program or computer that remains until the user specifies another setting.

Denial of Service (DoS) Attack
(Attaque par saturation)

A type of cyber attack aimed at overwhelming or otherwise disrupting the ability of the target system to receive information and interact with any other system.


The unjust treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, religion, sex or sexual orientation.

Domain name 


A name owned by a person or organization and consisting of an alphabetical or alphanumeric sequence followed by a suffix indicating the top-level domain: used as an Internet address to identify the location of particular web pages (example, the domain is ‘getalexio’)



Transmission of data from a remote computer system onto a local computer system.


E-mail (Electronic Mail)


Messages sent through an electronic (computer) network to specific groups or individuals.



Converting information from one form to another to hide its content. Is made visible by the recipient inputting a special and very long password called an encryption key.



When money or other assets are held by a trusted third party pending completion of a transaction.

Ethernet technology 


The most common technology for connecting computers together in a network.


Intentionally excluding someone from a group or invitation.

Executable file 


A file that is in a format the computer can directly execute, as opposed to source files, which are created by and for the user. Executable files are essential to running your computer, but can also do it harm. Spyware programs often include executable files that can operate without your knowledge.



A defined way to breach the security of an IT system through a vulnerability.



The unauthorized removal of data or files from a system by an intruder.


File sharing


Making files available over the Internet or network to other users, typically music or video files.



Software that screens information on the Internet, classifies its content, and allows the user to block certain kinds of content.



A firewall is a type of security barrier placed between network environments. It may be a dedicated device, or a composite of several components and techniques. Only authorized traffic, as defined by the local security policy, is allowed to pass. 

“Flame mail”


Extremely critical or abusive emails containing offensive language and comments.

“Flame war”


Breaks out when flame emails are sent back and forth between individuals repeatedly.Extremely critical or abusive emails containing offensive language and comments.



Sending offensive messages containing degrading content about an individual directly to that individual or to an online group.

Follow / Follower 


A term used by social networking sites to indicate someone who can view the content posted by your account/profile and, in some cases, the personal information (i.e. phone number, address, etc.) associated with your account/profile.



Freeware is copyrighted computer software which is made available for use free of charge.



The act of requesting another person to be your friend (and thereby formally connecting with you) on a social networking site.


Global Positioning System (GPS)


“Global Positioning System,” a global navigation satellite system that is used in cars or phones to determine location and provide directions.

Going viral 


Internet content that is rapidly spread through electronic mail and social networking sites because most people who get it share it with their friends or social networks.



Sharing information about someone that is negative or not yours to share.




Someone who uses computers and the Internet to access computers and servers without permission.

“Happy Slapping” 


An extreme form of bullying where physical assaults are recorded on mobile phones or digital cameras and distributed to others.



Repeatedly sending nasty, mean, and insulting messages.



The mechanical devices that comprise a computer system, such as the central processing unit, monitor, keyboard, and mouse, as well as other equipment such as printers and speakers.

Hard disk


A fixed magnetic disk drive used to store data on computers.

Home page


The home page is displayed by default when a visitor visits a website using a web browser.



An image or a portion of text that, when clicked, allows electronic connections. These connections access other Internet materials such as images, sounds, animations, videos, or other web pages.


Identity theft


The crime of impersonating someone and using their private information, usually for financial gain.



Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material to get that person in trouble or to damage that person’s reputation or relationships.

Instant messaging 


Real‐time electronic communication between people over a network.

Intellectual property


Legal rights that result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. Examples of types of intellectual property include an author’s copyright, trademark, and patents.

IP Address 


The IP address uniquely identifies a computer or other hardware device (such as a printer) on the Internet.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)


A business that supplies Internet connectivity services to individuals, businesses, and other organization.



Keystroke Logger


Software or hardware designed to capture a user’s keystrokes on a compromised system.  The keystrokes are stored or transmitted so that they may be used to collect valued information.


LAN (Local Area Network)


A network of connected computers that are generally located near each other, such as in an office or company.



See hyperlink.


Malicious software (malware)


Malicious software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system, without the owner’s consent.  Common forms of malware include computer viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and adware.

Memory stick


A removable solid-state memory device.



A modem is a device that is used to connect a computer to the Internet.



Information presented in more than one format, such as text, audio, video, graphics, and images.

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)


See Text messaging.




Network etiquette — Proper online social conduct.



A number of computers that are connected to one another.



Someone who is new to, and inexperienced with, an Internet site or technology.



A method of transmitting information (typically email) where the sender gets proof of delivery and the recipient is certain of the identity of the sender so that neither can later deny having processed the information.


Online Profiling


Compiling information about consumers’ preferences and interests by tracking their online movements and actions in order to create targeted ads.

Operating System


The main program that runs on a computer. An operating system allows other software to run and prevents unauthorized users from accessing the system. Major operating systems include UNIX, Windows, MacOS, and Linux.



When someone shares personal or private information and/or images about someone else.


Parental Controls


Tools that allow parents to prevent their children from accessing certain Internet content that they might find inappropriate.



A small piece of software designed to update or fix problems with a computer program. This includes fixing bugs, reducing vulnerabilities, replacing graphics and improving the usability or performance.

Peer-to-peer network (P2P)


Networks that are often used to share content files containing audio and video data. Relies primarily on the computing power and bandwidth of the participants in the network rather than concentrating power in a low number of servers.



Redirecting users from a legitimate website to a bogus copy, allowing criminals to steal the information users enter.



An attempt by a third party to solicit confidential information from an individual, group, or organization by mimicking or spoofing, a specific, usually well-known brand, usually for financial gain.  Phishers attempt to trick users into disclosing personal data, such as credit card numbers, online banking credentials, and other sensitive information, which they may then use to commit fraudulent acts.



Illegal use or duplication of material covered by intellectual property laws, such as copyright.

Pop-up Window


Unsolicited advertising that appears in its own browser window.

Post/ Posting


To add a contribution to a forum/chat room/blog/web page/social network profile, which is then accessible to others.

Privacy Policy 


A statement concerning collection, storage, and use of personal information.





Software that denies you access to your files until you pay a ransom.



A network device that is used to establish and control the flow of data between different networks.




A form of malware that attempts to scare and blackmail you into purchasing some software. The scare messages are persistent and difficult to remove. Web advertisements that say you have a problem are not considered scareware.

“Screen shot” 


Used to describe the action of capturing your computer desktop or anything shown on your computer screen to a static image file. Some people also call it a screen grab.

Search engine


A program that enables users to locate information on the World Wide Web. Search engines use keywords entered by users to find websites which contain the information sought.

Security software 


Identifies and protects against threats or vulnerabilities that may compromise your computer or your personal information; includes anti-virus and anti-spyware software and firewalls.



A picture taken by the photographer who is also the subject of the photograph that is planned to be uploaded to a social networking site.



A computer system or program that provides services to other computers.



When a young person takes an intimate image of themselves and sends it to their friends or significant other by mobile device.

Short Message Service (SMS)


A form of text messaging

Shoulder Surfing 


Peering over the shoulder of someone to see the contents on that person’s computer or mobile device screen.

Smart phone


A mobile phone that offers advanced capabilities and features like a web connection and a portable media player.



Fraudulent SMS messages designed to induce users to reveal personal or financial information via the mobile phone.

Social engineering


The practice of obtaining confidential information by manipulation of legitimate users.  A social engineer will commonly use the telephone or Internet to trick people into revealing sensitive information. For example, phishing is a type of social engineering.

Social networking


Using Internet-based tools that allow people to listen, interact, engage, and collaborate with each other; popular social networking platforms include Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.



A computer program, which provides the instructions which enable the computer hardware to work. System software, such as Windows , Linux or MacOS, operate the machine itself, and applications software, such as spreadsheet or word processing programs, provide specific functionality.



Any unsolicited commercial electronic message. It is often a source of scams, computer viruses and offensive content that takes up valuable time and increases costs for consumers, business and governments.

Spear Phishing


The use of spoof emails to persuade people within an organization to reveal their usernames or passwords. Unlike phishing, which involves mass mailing, spear phishing is small-scale and well targeted.



A situation in which one person or program successfully masquerades as another by falsifying data and thereby gains an illegitimate advantage.



Software that enables advertisers or hackers to gather information without the user’s permission.  Spyware programs are not viruses, since they do not spread to other computers, but they can have undesirable effects.  Once installed, spyware tracks the infected computer’s activity and reports it to others.  Spyware also consumes memory and processing capacity, which may slow or crash the infected computer.

System software 


Same as operating system as above.


Text messaging (SMS and MMS)


The process of sending a written message to someone’s mobile device. Short Message Service (SMS) is a way of sending text messages between mobile devices.  Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is the process for sending images, audio and video between mobile devices.



An add-in for a web browser that adds functionality.



Talking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, then sharing it online.



A malicious program that is disguised as or embedded within legitimate software. 



Deliberately posting false information to entice a genuinely helpful people to respond and contribute to the discussion.




The act of removing someone from your friends or followers list on a social network site.



To remove an application or file from a computer.



An improved or more modern version of hardware or software.



Transmission of data from a local computer system onto a remote computer system.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)


Universal Resource Locator is the technical term for the address (location) of a resource on the Internet such as a website or file.


Virtual Private Network (VPN)


A private communications network usually used within a company, or by several different companies or organisations to communicate over a wider network. VPN communications are typically encrypted or encoded to protect the traffic from other users on the public network carrying the VPN.



A computer program that can spread by making copies of itself. Computer viruses spread from one computer to another, usually without the knowledge of the user.  Viruses can have harmful effects, ranging from displaying irritating messages to stealing data or giving other users control over the infected computer.



Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the routing of voice conversations over the Internet. This is distinct from a telephone call, which is made from your home or office phone which goes through the Public Switched Telephone Network.



A flaw or weakness in the design or implementation of an information system or its environment that could be exploited to adversely affect an organization’s assets or operations.




A digital camera that can transmit images over the Internet.



Wi-Fi refers to a set of wireless communication protocols that can transmit traffic to Wi-Fi enabled devices within a local area. A Wi-Fi enabled device such as a laptop or tablet can connect to the Internet when within range of a wireless network connected to the Internet. An area covered by one or more Wi-Fi access points is commonly called a hotspot.



A self-replicating computer program.  It uses a network to send copies of itself to other systems and it may do so without any user intervention.  Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program.  Worms always harm the network (if only by consuming bandwidth), whereas viruses always infect or corrupt files on a targeted computer.






A compromised computer.


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