The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Americans are having immigration problems going to Canada based on very old criminal offenses. This is because of Canadian law that bars certain individuals from entering the country. The law hasn’t changed, but the information available to the border guard has changed. The article states:

So it isn’t as if rules have stiffened. But what has changed is the way the information is gathered. In the wake of 9/11, Canada and the United States formed a partnership that has dramatically increased what Lesperance calls "the data mining” system at the border.

It’s amazing how information sharing suddenly becomes unacceptable as it affects you and stops you from doing what you want to do. For instance, we’ve seen Europeans balk at Swift, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, for sharing information with the US in the name of fighting terrorism. Both of these situations highlight on a grand scale the importance of considering the impacts of sharing data on personal privacy whenever embarking on a new business venture. Typically these are called privacy impact assessments and should be a step when considering new (or reviewing old) business opportunities. You can find some helpful questions from the US government for what to consider, not that they’ve been perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.