Privacy Advisor

Assistant Commissioner receives OBA Karen Spector Memorial Award for Excellence in Privacy Law

July 1, 2012

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/E, CIPP/US

Ontario Assistant Commissioner of Privacy Ken Anderson has been honored by the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) with its Karen Spector Memorial Award for Excellence in Privacy Law, which was established to recognize, honor and celebrate the outstanding achievements of OBA members working in the privacy field.

Anderson received the award Thursday at an OBA event in Toronto. OBA Privacy Law Selection Chair Laura Davison, CIPP/C, CIPP/US, said that Anderson “is an outstanding privacy leader and professional,” adding, “This award represents the respect and affection Ken commands across the privacy bar.”

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian provided special remarks on the occasion.

“Since being appointed assistant commissioner,” Cavoukian told The Privacy Advisor, “Ken has served with distinction, always being called upon for his valued opinion and insight on the wide range of issues that encompass the work of the” Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC).   

In addition to his work as assistant commissioner, Anderson is director of professional services, including work in the OIPC’s legal department.

“Throughout the years, Ken has made a positive imprint on some very important issues, ranging from legislation to the impact of new technologies on privacy,” said Cavoukian.

Among his many achievements, Cavoukian notes Anderson’s work with “the Personal Health Information Protection Act; the Adoption Information Disclosure Act; an investigation into video surveillance in mass transit systems (TTC Report); the investigation into excessive background checks on prospective jurors, and most recently, the controversial ‘lawful access’ bill (Bill C-30).”

In his acceptance speech, Anderson highlighted the groundbreaking privacy work of Karen Spector and privacy scholar Ian Kerr as well as the mentorship of Cavoukian.

“I had the pleasure to work with Karen on some different matters,” Anderson said, “and I greatly admired both her ability to identify privacy wrongs that needed righting as well as her determined advocacy to enable the necessary changes.”

Anderson thanked Cavoukian for her mentorship, adding, “she constantly regenerates my privacy perspective.” 

He also praised the educational work of Kerr who, after 9/11, “saw the potential for a diminishment of privacy rights concerning the identity of individuals and the need for creative insight and writing about the subject.” Kerr’s formation of the “Identity Project” has helped Canada receive “a new cadre of privacy scholars, lawyers and other professionals,” Anderson noted.

“Something I’ve seen in common with Karen, Ann and Ian is what I call giving privacy the ‘VIP treatment’…that is Vision, Inventiveness and Passion,” said Anderson, adding, “I think privacy could use a lot more of the VIP treatment.”

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