understanding the importance and impact of anonymity and authentication in a networked society
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Ann Cavoukian
Commissioner - Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC/Ontario)

Stream 2 - constitutional and legal aspects of anonymity


e-mail: commissioner(at)ipc.on.ca

Dr. Ann Cavoukian is recognized as one of the top privacy experts in the world. An avowed believer in the role that technology can play in protecting privacy, Ann’s leadership has seen her office develop a number of tools and procedures to ensure privacy is protected in Ontario – and around the globe.

Ann is Ontario's first Information and Privacy Commissioner to be reappointed for a second term. Initially appointed in 1997, her role in overseeing the operations of the freedom of information and privacy laws in Canada’s most populous province was extended to 2009. Like the provincial auditor, she serves as an officer of the legislature, independent of the government of the day.

Businesses across North America and Europe regularly seek Ann’s advice and guidance on privacy and data protection issues. She has been involved in a number of international committees focused on privacy, technology and business. Her groundbreaking 1995 paper on advancing privacy protection through the pursuit of privacy-enhancing technologies or PETs is now part of the industry lexicon.

Whenever a privacy, security or access issue hits the news, Ann is one of the first experts called in by the media to try and make sense of it. She often serves the role of “translator” – breaking down complex issues into understandable terms and concepts. She is also frequently called upon to speak at leading international forums.

A leading privacy publication recently announced that it had selected Ann as The Privacy Manager of the Year for 2003. "Many privacy leaders from around the world were nominated as The Privacy Manager of the Year," said Publisher Robert Vinet, when making the announcement. "But the one name that kept coming up was that of Dr. Cavoukian ... We looked at all the nominees, and the one person who was head and shoulders above the rest was Dr. Cavoukian."

Ann is also the published author of two groundbreaking books on privacy – "Who Knows: Safeguarding Your Privacy in a Networked World" (1997), written with Don Tapscott and "The Privacy Payoff: How Successful Businesses Build Customer Trust" (2002), written with Tyler Hamilton. The books look at the personal and financial risks that arise in the absence of safeguarding personal and customer data. Ann is a pioneer in advancing the bottom-line business need for companies, large and small, to have strong privacy practices.

Ann joined the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in 1987, during its start-up phase, as its first Director of Compliance. In 1990, she was appointed Assistant Commissioner. Prior to joining the IPC, Ann headed the Research Services Branch for the provincial Attorney General. Ann received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, where she specialized in criminology and law, and lectured on psychology and the criminal justice system.

Read our interview with Ann Cavoukian

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