The policy director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association explains why aggregating government data to replace the census would be unfortunate for the basic principle of individual privacy.
The government has said that in addition to the new voluntary National Household Survey, it will rely on existing databases to paint a picture of the Canadian population, but Vonn said that approach is far more worrying than the long-form census.
Citizens’ privacy relies on data in government and private databases existing in silos, she said, but linking them will “create de-facto citizen dossiers that are a privacy Chornobyl waiting to happen.”
On the one hand, the measure outlined here could conceivably lead to a disastrous breakdown—a meltdown, if you will—of citizen privacy whereby a large amount of information is inadvertently released or abused.
On the other hand, in the case of the actual Chernobyl, several dozen people were killed and several thousand were poisoned, while a large area in Ukraine was rendered uninhabitable.