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Canada and the U.S. PATRIOT Act

Check out our blog post which explains more about how the U.S. Patriot Act affects Canadians. (Note: Our blog is currently in English only)

SurveyMonkey has many customers in Canada, both individual and corporate. We occasionally get inquiries from customers located in Canada wondering how the U.S. Patriot Act affects the privacy of their survey data, especially given the requirements of privacy law in Canada.

We are aware that some public organizations (especially in British Columbia and Nova Scotia) have been prevented from using SurveyMonkey due to provincial privacy laws or internal policies. This largely stems from concerns about our customers’ data being stored on servers located in the U.S. and the access that the U.S. government potentially has to this data via the Patriot Act.

While we cannot advise whether your use of SurveyMonkey is compliant with your obligations, we encourage you to consider that the Patriot Act was enacted primarily in response to incidents of terrorism. We are of the opinion that the privacy risk posed to most customers is minimal, as long as they abide by our Terms of Use. In the absence of illegal activity, there is little reason for the U.S. government to make a Patriot Act data request from our data facilities.

Furthermore, see also this news article relating to the decision of hospitals in Ontario to outsource data processing services (involving patients' personal information) to a U.S. company. In that article, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the Privacy Commissioner for Ontario expressed that she was “not worried” that the hospitals were doing this. The article goes on to mention that “Cavoukian conceded there’s nothing in Ontario’s privacy laws that prevents hospitals or other organizations from outsourcing information. ‘We don’t want to handcuff organizations from using the services of companies in other jurisdictions with better expertise and who can deliver them at better cost,’ she said.”
 
SurveyMonkey has many customers in Canada, both individual and corporate. We occasionally get inquiries from customers located in Canada wondering how the U.S. Patriot Act affects the privacy of their survey data, especially given the requirements of privacy law in Canada.

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