Archive for October, 2012

Law Enforcement Renews Demand for Internet Surveillance Legislation

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police renewed its call for Internet surveillance legislation on Friday, urging the government to move forward with Bill C-30. The CACP release included a new video and backgrounder. Law enforcement officials now admit that parts of the bill require amendment, yet as David Fraser points out in this detailed post, the reality is that “lawful access” is irretrievably broken (I’ve posted in the past on the many changes that are needed to restore balance to Bill C-30). As Fraser argues with respect to mandatory disclosure of personal information:

To put it very simply, if the police cannot convince a judge that the connection should be made, they should not be able to obtain it. If you can’t convince a judge that it will lead to evidence of a crime, the cops should go back to the drawing board.

While the CACP insists that “Canadians need to understand what lawful access is truly about”, it unfortunately resorts to headline grabbing claims that have little to do with the bill.  Much like the government’s initial focus on child pornography, the CACP jumps on the recent focus on cyber-bullying, stating:

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October 29, 2012 12 comments News

CRTC Requires Greater Transparency on Wholesale Rates

The CRTC announced on Friday that it would require greater transparency from incumbent telecom and cable companies when setting wholesale rates. The lack of disclosure was a major source of concern during the usage based billing dispute last year.

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October 29, 2012 2 comments Must Reads

Del Mastro Targets Online Anonymity

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has raised the prospect of government regulation of online anonymity, arguing that Parliament should address the issue of forcing people to identify themselves before posting comments online.

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October 26, 2012 10 comments Must Reads

Supreme Court To Hear Case Challenging Constitutionality of Privacy Law

The Supreme Court of Canada yesterday granted leave for what could be the most important privacy case in years as it addresses “whether the Personal Information Protection Act [Alberta’s private sector privacy law] is contrary to s.2(b) of the Charter and if so, whether it constitutes a reasonable limit in […]

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October 26, 2012 1 comment Must Reads

CRTC Pushes Bill of Rights for Consumers

Earlier this month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission invited the public to help create a national code of conduct for wireless companies such as Bell, Rogers, and Telus. The consultation is expected to generate widespread interest, providing frustrated consumers with an outlet for grievances on lengthy contracts, problematic terms and conditions, exorbitant roaming costs, or onerous cancellation fees. 

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the decision to embark on a national, enforceable code of conduct for wireless services supported by the wireless carriers represents a dramatic policy shift that was scarcely imaginable only a few years. Indeed, when then-Industry Minister Maxime Bernier pushed through a policy direction to the CRTC in 2006 aimed at limiting regulation by calling for “greater reliance on market forces”, consumer-focused regulations were viewed as an impossibility. Consistent with the market-led approach, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association introduced a voluntary code of conduct in 2009 with no expectation of government regulation.

The move toward new regulations provides a valuable lesson on the role that the provinces can play to jumpstart otherwise stagnating issues. In the case of wireless services, the introduction of provincial consumer protections geared specifically toward the wireless sector ultimately encouraged the carriers to drop their opposition to new regulation as they recognized that a uniform federal policy was preferable to the emerging piecemeal provincial framework.

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October 23, 2012 8 comments Columns