Is Canada doing enough to stop cybercrime? The decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to appoint Howard Schmidt as national cybersecurity coordinator has some observers – such as the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance – saying that Canada needs a senior bureaucrat to oversee online security. Others point to the active role that Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has played in high-profile cases involving Facebook and Google as proof that the government is doing enough.

Canadians may be making a mistake in confusing privacy with security, says Anil Somayaji, associate director of Carleton University’s computer security lab. “It’s the difference between worrying about someone knowing what you ate for lunch and someone stealing your lunch. We need to be concerned about both.”

He believes that, in the absence of any way to completely stop online security breaches, Canada must take measures to increase the consequences for committing cybercrimes.

“Canada has a strong role to play in being an honest broker internationally to help curb criminal activities. If we had someone at a senior level responsible for that, it would send out a strong message that Canada is serious about being a leader.”