IBM and Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner to Create First Digital Template of Privacy Legislation

Pilot Program Will Demonstrate New Privacy Language for Business, Help Safeguard Consumer Data

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TORONTO, ON - 12 Sep 2003: IBM and the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario (IPC) today announced that they will work together to create a digital template of Ontario's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) as part of a pilot project aimed at making it easier and more cost effective for companies, governments and organizations to comply with privacy legislation.
A new computer language called the Enterprise Privacy Authorization Language (EPAL) will be used to create a machine-readable version of FIPPA. The template will then be tested at an Ontario ministry to demonstrate how technology can be used to apply privacy rules across internal business systems.

"Protecting the personal information of the public is critical, especially in today's connected world, where large volumes of personally identifiable information are stored and managed electronically," said Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario. "Around the world, companies with large databases which need to be accessed by various divisions, for different purposes, often struggle with how to comply with applicable privacy laws. Building privacy rules right into the database would represent a significant move forward," said the Commissioner. "Creating the first electronic, IT-readable version of Ontario's privacy legislation is an excellent first step."

Developed by IBM, EPAL is an XML-based language that gives developers the power to turn the legal language of privacy policies into an IT language that can be read by applications and privacy management tools. By building privacy rules into enterprise applications, organizations can then automate privacy management tasks, which can result in cost savings and introduce greater consistency in decision-making.

"IBM is pleased to be working with the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner's team to articulate the province's privacy regulations in EPAL," said Arvind Krishna, vice president of provisioning and security development, Tivoli Software, IBM. "This project will help establish EPAL as a viable technology solution for automating privacy management, not just for government, but for the corporate world as well."

IBM plans to submit EPAL for standardization and introduce support for EPAL in its privacy management products. A draft specification of the language is currently available at

(Ontario's Act, FIPPA, creates a set of privacy protection rules, which the government must follow to protect an individual's right to privacy. The Act includes rules regarding the collection, retention, use, disclosure and disposal of personal information by Ontario's provincial ministries and agencies, boards and most commissions. Various types of privacy legislation have passed or are currently in review worldwide.)

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