It is important to understand the difference between the private sector and public sector because your privacy rights will differ depending on the legislation that an organization is governed under.
The Private Sector
The private sector is usually composed of organizations that are privately owned and not part of the government. These usually includes corporations (both profit and non-profit), partnerships, and charities.
An easier way to think of the private sector is by thinking of organizations that are not owned or operated by the government. For example, retail stores, credit unions, and local businesses will operate in the private sector.
The Public Sector
The public sector is usually composed of organizations that are owned and operated by the government. This includes federal, provincial, state, or municipal governments, depending on where you live. Privacy legislation usually calls organizations in the public sector a public body or a public authority.
Some examples of public bodies in Canada and the United Kingdom are educational bodies, health care bodies, police and prison services, and local and central government bodies and their departments.