Elizabeth Denham, British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, is expressing concern that privacy laws are widely misunderstood by public and government agencies and can hinder the release of important information.
In a recently released Investigation Report, Denham states her belief that parts of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) can be difficult to interpret and apply. She explains that the report was issued to help public bodies discern the basis for disclosure of information that is of public interest.
Her report points out concerns that public bodies are not properly trained or even aware of the duty to inform residents about potential dangers that have been the subject of examination.
“I’m concerned that public bodies don’t understand the mandatory nature of their duty to warn,” Denham stated recently. “It’s not discretionary and it applies to all public bodies from school boards to municipalities to health authorities to all government ministries. Twenty years in and I am concerned the public bodies don’t have the policies, the awareness, the training about the mandatory nature of this.”
Denham makes a recommendation in the report for public bodies to develop policies that provide guidance to staff regarding their obligations under FIPPA.
So there you are, relaxing in front of the television when that familiar Emergency Alert System sound starts blaring over the show you are watching. You think maybe it’s a regular system test or perhaps a severe weather warning, but no… it’s a Zombie Attack Alert!
Unfortunately this is a true story. A zombie attack alert was issued on a handful of U.S. TV stations last month when hackers gained access to the EAS equipment. The most shocking part of this story is not the concerned calls from citizens who wanted to know if the zombie attack was real, it is the fact that the T.V. stations never changed the default password for their EAS equipment.
Thankfully as a result of this incident, Broadcasters have received valuable security education and EAS equipment makers are looking for methods beyond password protection to ensure that this does not happen again.
You can view footage of the zombie alert here:
Read the full article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/14/net-us-usa-zombie-hacking-idUSBRE91D07Z20130214
Meanwhile in Canada…
The House of Commons praised the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on their proactive approach to zombie apocalypse protection. Winnipeg Member of Parliament Pat Martin introduced the issue, probing Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird about the ongoing preparations, reminding him that “zombies don’t recognize borders” and an invasion in the U.S. could lead to a “continent-wide pandemic.”
May 6 through 12 is recognized as Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada, with the 2012 theme of “Make a Plan.” The website www.GetPrepared.ca just unveiled a redesign with easier navigation and new sections on preparing children for emergencies, how to plan for pets and service animals, and using technology to keep in touch during emergencies. Canadians can visit the site to complete and download their own family emergency plan.
Also available is a mobile version of the website, m.GetPrepared.ca, which gives quick access from a mobile device on what to do during different kinds of emergencies. The mobile website also allows users to email a custom emergency kit shopping list from their mobile device.
Public Safety Canada publishes a wide variety of products aimed at helping citizens know the risks and get prepared for emergencies, including a 36-page Emergency Preparedness Guide and Pocket Guide to Emergencies.
The Minister of Public Safety encouraged Canadians to use Emergency Preparedness Week as an opportunity to “ensure we are prepared for any emergency situation that may occur. It is also a time for us to recognize those men and women on the front lines who work heroically to protect our families and communities from emergency situations.”
Canadians are encouraged to get more involved in their communities by talking to friends, family and co-workers about emergency preparedness, developing plans to be ready, educating others on the importance of emergency preparedness, and knowing the emergency response agencies in your community.
Emergency Preparedness Week is a national event coordinated by Public Safety Canada in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and other partners, encouraging Canadians to be ready to cope on their own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency. For more information on EP Week, visit www.GetPrepared.ca, and follow @Get_Prepared on Twitter.