De-Identification, Intermediary Liability & Gender Stereotypes – Friday Files

This week’s resources for weekend reading!

  • De-identification Guidelines. ICYMI the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner has developed a resource page for de-identification, which includes the IPC’s June 2016 De-identification Guidelines for Structured Data. The International Conference of Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners have shortlisted the Guidelines for the Global Privacy and Data Protection Awards 2017 in the Research Category. Read the De-identification Guidelines here.
  • Intermediary Liability and Online Marketing. Do social media platforms that display advertising have any potential liability for deceptive advertising? In the United States, section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides that the a website or other Internet publisher will not be deemed to be the publisher of content that is provided by another information content provider. This is a key part of Google’s claim that the Canadian Supreme Court went to far in its world wide injunction (discussed in my blog post here). In Canada, the conventional wisdom has been that platforms are unlikely to be liable if it is clear from placement and context that the advertisement is a third-party advertisement and the platform has not had any involvement in the content of the advertisement or knowledge that it is deceptive. However, if there is actual knowledge (e.g. by being put on notice), the situation could change. If you are interested in these questions, Lavery, de Billy has an interesting discussion of this topic that you can locate here.
  • Gender Stereotypes. The UK Advertising Standards Authority has issued a report Depictions, Perceptions and Harm calling for stronger regulation of advertising containing stereotypical gender roles or characteristics. The report is based on qualitative research on the harms created by gender stereotyping. You can find the report here. Advertising Standards Canada has had guidelines on Gender Portrayal in one form or another since 1981. The current Guidelines contain six basic principles: (1) women and men should have equal representation in roles of authority; (2) women and men should be portrayed as decision-makers for purchases; (3) there should not be inappropriate use or exploitation of sexuality; (4) no sexual violence or domination; (5) women and men should be portrayed “in the full spectrum of diversity” and equally competent in activities; and (5) advertising should avoid language that misrepresents or offends or excludes men or women.