The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA) has given a a warning to its members that digital fingerprinting may be illegal in Canada as it "might collect additional information than is required to recognize fake and duplicate respondents in online research".
A legal opinion organized by technology and privacy lawyer Brian Bowman, a partner at law firm Pitblado, has adviced that digital fingerprinting may not meet the ‘reasonableness test’ with regard to Canadian privacy laws.

The MRIA said it was "extremely likely" that data obtained by digital fingerprinting technology would include personal information, as stated by the country’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Privacy laws in Canada put an obligation on organizations to "exhaust" other less privacy-invasive alternatives previous to gathering personal information (as defined by PIPEDA), which means that digital fingerprinting technology would not pass a 'reasonableness test'.

The legal opinion however stated that "this is a particularly stringent requirement. The use of the word "exhaust" means that all other less privacy-invasive alternatives should be attempted in vain before digital fingerprinting is utilized to recognize and remove reproduction and/or fake participants. We are therefore of the opinion that members who fail to meet this customary may be established to be non-compliant with PIPEDA on this basis."

The MRIA has advised research agencies who use digital fingerprinting technology, which can normally collect around 100 data elements from a respondent’s computer to remove duplicate respondents, that they must create a specific approval document rather than just amend their privacy policies.

MRIA president David Stark warned that Bowman's legal opinions could have extensive implications. He stated "Canada has a wide-ranging privacy law that is largely similar to data protection laws that is found in Europe, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Hence , the privacy issues and probable liabilities associated with digital fingerprinting in Canada could be appropriate to these and other jurisdictions"