Archive for October 9th, 2012

Random Government Takedown Demands Point to Need for Policy

Appeared in the Toronto Star on October 6, 2012 as Ottawa’s Web 2.0 Policy Needs Tweaking Given the enormous popularity of social media, establishing a foothold on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other popular websites has become a top priority for most organizations.  The same is true for the federal government, […]

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October 9, 2012 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Random Government Takedown Demands Point to Need for Policy

Given the enormous popularity of social media, establishing a foothold on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other popular websites has become a top priority for most organizations.  The same is true for the federal government, which last year released a lengthy policy document that established the rules for departmental engagement with “Web 2.0” sites and tools.

The policy document encourages officials to use the sites “as an efficient and effective additional channel to interact with the public”, noting that the Internet offers opportunities for public consultation, recruitment, collaboration, and the provision of government services.

The government acknowledges that there are risks, however. These include potential misuse of government content or the possibility of negative perceptions associated with official use. While the document establishes a myriad of rules and guidelines for use of these services, it surprisingly does not consider how to respond to the negative risks.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the absence of policy direction may be partially to blame for recent revelations of government department demands to Google to remove certain content from its search database or websites. The haphazard manner in which these demands have occurred demonstrate the dangers of proceeding in an ad hoc manner in which officials race to demand the removal of lawful content without uniform policies or guidelines.

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October 9, 2012 6 comments Columns

Canada Officially Joins Trans Pacific Partnership Talks

After months of delays, Canada (and Mexico) have officially joined the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. The next round of talks is scheduled to take place in New Zealand in December.

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October 9, 2012 4 comments Must Reads

Google Faces Canadian Gmail Lawsuit Over Email Scanning

A B.C. man has filed a lawsuit against Google over the scanning of emails sent to Gmail users. Similar lawsuits have been filed in the U.S., though experts are skeptical about whether automated scanning amounts to a privacy violation.

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October 9, 2012 5 comments Must Reads

Two Canadian Universities Hit By Security Breaches

Slaw and the NY Times report that two Canadian universities – UBC and McMaster University – have been hit by security breaches with student records and other data posted online.

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October 9, 2012 Comments are Disabled Must Reads