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The BC government proposed changes to its information and privacy laws this week that it claims will protect the privacy of its citizens now that the province has contracted out administration of its medicare program to a US company.

But Barry O’Neill is not so sure.

Amendments to Canadian law cannot protect the privacy of Canadians when US companies are in possession of Canadians’ personal information, he said.

O’Neill argued that Maximus, the US-based company that won the contract, can choose whether to comply with Canadian or US law on privacy.

And even if the company observes the government’s new prohibition on storing information outside the country, the US government could still subpoena the company through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

“The government is demonstrating that it’s far more concerned about protecting its privatization agenda than protecting British Columbians’ right to privacy,” O’Neill said.