Privacy advocates have plenty of questions about how data from buying marijuana online will be handled
When Canadians go to buy their first grams of legal cannabis next week, many of them will do so through the internet, creating huge quantities of data as a side effect of their purchases.
But with only one week until legalization, privacy advocates say they still have plenty of questions about how that data will be handled.
And the answers could have serious ramifications: The United States still considers cannabis to be an illegal substance and concerns have been raised that Canadians could be blocked from travelling to the U.S. if customs officials find out that they have purchased the drug, or been involved in legalized production.
“It’s going to be an issue, and it’s going to present problems and challenges in terms of how that data is used, how it’s protected,” said Matt Murphy, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who is now vice-president of compliance for Khiron Life Sciences, a Toronto-based cannabis company.
“I’m not aware of much guidance relative to how that data is protected, how it’s used, how it’s stored. These are all interesting questions that I think we’re going to have to deal with — probably sooner rather than later.”
Murphy downplayed the concerns about the U.S. going to great lengths to figure out who bought a gram of cannabis — he said they’re more worried about terrorists and illegal migrants — but he said that potential privacy breaches could affect people’s employment, or simply cause public embarrassment.
But then there’s the credit card companies. (Continued: Financial Post)