Archive for February, 2013

Sony Rootkit Redux: Canadian Business Groups Lobby For Right To Install Spyware on Your Computer

The deadline for comments on Industry Canada’s draft anti-spam regulations passed earlier this week with a group of 13 industry associations – including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Marketing Association, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada – submitting a lengthy document  that, if adopted, would gut much of the law. The groups adopt radical interpretations of the law to argue for massive new loopholes or for the indefinite delay of several provisions. I will focus on some of the submissions shortly, but this post focuses on the return of an issue that was seemingly killed years ago: demands to permit surreptitious surveillance by the copyright owners and other groups for private enforcement purposes.

During the anti-spam law debates in 2009, copyright lobby groups promoted amendments that would have allowed for expansive surveillance of user computers. Coming on the heels of the Sony rootkit scandal, the government ultimately rejected those proposals (the Liberals had plans to propose such amendments but backed down), leaving in place an important provision that requires express consent prior to the installation of computer software. The provision states:

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February 6, 2013 95 comments News

CRTC Should Be Bolder With Wireless Code

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission unveiled its much-anticipated draft wireless code of conduct lasts week, offering a promise of new, enforceable protections for consumers. The draft code, which is open for public comment until mid-February, generated a mixed reaction. Some consumer groups welcomed it as a step in the right direction. But other commentators were left underwhelmed, disappointed that the code does little to address consumer frustrations with issues such as long-term wireless contracts and exorbitant roaming fees.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the draft code features some welcome changes to the current wireless landscape, including the possibility of consumer cancellation of contracts when providers change key terms, clear limits on contract termination penalties, and monthly bill caps when additional fees are incurred (thereby reducing the likelihood of bill shock after a trip abroad). Perhaps most importantly, the code is enforceable, backed by the possibility of monetary compensation of up to $5,000.

Yet the draft code ultimately disappoints, since its underlying philosophy is that consumer frustrations with the Canadian wireless market can be best addressed by more information.

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February 5, 2013 13 comments Columns

CRTC Should Be Bolder With Wireless Code

Appeared in the Toronto Star on February 2, 2013 as CRTC Should Be Bolder With Wireless Code The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission unveiled its much-anticipated draft wireless code of conduct this week, offering a promise of new, enforceable protections for consumers. The draft code, which is open for public […]

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February 5, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Does Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Really Discriminate Against Charities and Schools? No.

My earlier posts on Canada’s anti-spam law focused on claims about restrictions involving family and personal relationships as well as the exaggerated concerns about the impact on small and medium sized businesses. This post tackles one of the strangest criticisms of the Canadian anti-spam law to date: the claim that it discriminates against charities, schools, and other not-for-profit organizations. In fact, the opposite is true since the law features additional protections for these groups that are not otherwise available to conventional commercial businesses. 

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February 1, 2013 4 comments News