Find out who owns your data

Whose Data? is an open source project that aims to make it easier for Canadians to answer key questions about who owns — and what options we have to control — data collected about us, via common online (eg. social media platforms) and offline (eg. health records) activities.

The Research

For each company or organization we research, we aim to answer two questions:

  1. Do I legally own the data this org has about me?
  2. Can I see all the data they have about me, for free?

We may add more questions in the future. Learn more about our approach.

Below is an overview of our research so far. Click the organization or company name for more information.

 

Do I legally own the data this org has about me? Can I see all the data they have about me, for free?
Phone records (Canada-wide) Unclear No
Security cameras on public property Unclear Yes
Security cameras on private property Unclear Yes
Personal medical records (Ontario) Yes, but the physical record belongs to the person or organization responsible for its creation (eg. the hospital or physician) No
Google.ca Yes, but you give Google a license Yes
Facebook Yes, but you give Facebook a license and there is some data you don’t own Yes, but not all
Credit report Unclear Yes
Credit score Unclear No
Snapchat Unclear Yes, but they may reject a request

The Problem

It’s time consuming and complicated for Canadians to find good information about who owns and uses data that is commonly collected about us — and what options we have to take control of it.

Every day, we ‘like’ posts on social media, check apps to see when the next bus is coming, tap our credit cards, walk past security cameras… and the river of information generated and stored about us swells.

This data may be about me, but whose is it, really?
What control over it and its use do I have?

Without a shared understanding, it’s hard to have informed discussions and make decisions about the way we actually want ownership and control of our data to work.

The Solution

Whose Data? helps solve this problem by putting information about who owns — and what options we have to control — data collected about Canadians in one place.

Making the this information more accessible isn’t a quick fix. It won’t change our habits, company practices or government policies. But it can help increase the number of Canadians who understand the current state of affairs, and have informed opinions about what we want when it comes to how our personal data is treated.

That means more Canadians who are ready and able to help build the connected world we want, by engaging in important discussions — like how we want data collected about us by ‘smart cities’ to be protected and what informed consent about personal data collection really means in our digital society.

How does it work?

For each company or organization we research, we aim to answer two questions:

(1) Do I legally own the data this org has about me?
(2) Can I see all the data they have about me, for free?

We may add more questions in the future!

We call a company or organization we’re researching a ‘case’.

We aim to have each case verified through 3 types of research:

secondary research (aka surfing the web)
primary research (aka contacting the company/organization directly)
expert review (aka feedback from an expert in the field, such as law or policy)

Once secondary research is available, a case can be put up on this website — but it won’t be verified ✅ until 3/3 types of research have been completed.

Get Involved

Whose Data? is an open source project, and we need people like you to help grow and improve it.

If you want it to help make it easier for Canadians to find out who owns our data, there’s something you can do to contribute.

👉 Check out our Contributors Guidelines to get started 👈

Right now, we’re particularly looking for people to help with:

  • doing research online
  • organizing data
  • improving web & visual design
  • spreading the word
  • sharing feedback, questions, and ideas to make the project better!

Thank you!