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There was a time when IT leaders shrugged off people’s worries about privacy, saying that with the Internet, social media and big data privacy is an outdated concept.

According to a report in Computerworld U.S., that attitude is still prevelent, despite a lot of evidence of customer worries.

Peter Sayer reports that at Sunday’s opening of the annual CeBit conference in Germany.the head of the German Association for Information and Technology suggested restricting the amount of data organizations can collect isn’t the right way to go.

“We have to wonder whether the approach to data protection that strives to limit collection of personal data can apply in the digital world,” he said. “Categorical nay-saying may be popular but it doesn’t do justice to the digital approach.”

What organizations have to do, he said, is protect personal data better.

This perhaps may have something to do with an industry that craves access to data. I also note that earlier this year Microsoft released a study showing 32 per cent of Canadians were willing to sell their digital data to the right company for the right price.

There’s a fine line here between giving up privacy and a willingness to sell it (or some of it).

Europeans have always been more vocal about digital privacy and this week’s CeBit conference will see a lot of debate about it.

Note that German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the conference “This digital world has to be given a legal framework, an underlying order. We’re only at the beginning of that. National laws alone will not suffice.”

It would be nice to see the Harper government, ITAC and CATA lead that debate here.

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