Archive for October, 2013

Who Is Watching the Watchers?: A Panel on Canadian Privacy and Surveillance

The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law will be hosting a panel featuring University of Ottawa faculty on Canadian privacy and surveillance on October 16th from 11:30 – 1:00 titled Who Is Watching the Watchers? I’ll be participating on the panel along with Craig Forcese, Ian Kerr, Valerie Steeves, and […]

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October 9, 2013 1 comment Must Reads

Canadian Government Quietly Pursuing New ISP Code of Conduct

Appeared in the Toronto Star on October 5, 2013 as Ottawa Pushing ISP Code of Conduct With the cost of cybercrime in Canada on the rise – a new report released last week by Symantec, a security software vendor, pegged the cost at $3.1 billion annually – the Canadian government […]

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October 8, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Public Safety Foreshadowed Rejection of MTS Allstream-Accelero With 2011 Foreign Investment Concerns

On the same day that revelations about CSEC spying on the Brazilian government for economic purposes generated headlines around the world, the Canadian government rejected the proposed acquisition of MTS Allstream’s Allstream division by Accelero Capital Holdings, a company co-founded by Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire who first captured Canadian […]

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October 8, 2013 4 comments News

The Untold Story Behind the LAC-Canadiana Digitization Plan

The need for a large-scale Canadian digitization strategy has been readily apparent for many years, with experts repeatedly pointing to the benefits that would come from improved access to Canadian history and culture. While other countries have marched ahead with ambitious projects that often incorporate historical text records, photographs, and video, Canada has fallen behind. 

Library and Archives Canada, which is charged with preserving and making accessible Canada’s documentary heritage, has led the digitization effort, but most of its work over the past decade has failed to bear much fruit.

Given the past disappointments, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star versionhomepage version) notes the launch a massive new digitization project should have been a cause for celebration. Last June, the LAC and Canadiana, an alliance of public and academic libraries focused on digital preservation, announced plans to digitize and create metadata on 60 million historical Canadian documents. The documents are currently in microfiche and the project envisions digitizing the images and adding transcriptions and metadata (data about data content) to improve their searchability.

Yet as the details of the project dubbed Héritage leaked out, controversy arose with concerns that the historical documents would be placed behind a paywall that would require individual Canadians to pay monthly fees for access. That generated a significant outcry from many groups, with then-Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore assuring the House of Commons that the new head of LAC would closely examine the project.

After the outcry subsided, however, H̩ritage began to proceed largely as planned. The key supporters of the project РCanadiana, the major library associations, and the LAC Рtried to assure critics that their concerns were unfounded, promising to make the digitized microfiche copies freely available to all and restricting additional fees to value-added services such as transcription or metadata. However, newly obtained documents under the Access to Information Act raise troubling questions about public access and promises of exclusivity made by the LAC.

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October 1, 2013 12 comments Columns

The Untold Story Behind the LAC-Canadiana Digitization Plan

Appeared in the Toronto Star on September 28, 2013 as The Untold Story Behind Canada’s Digitization Plan The need for a large-scale Canadian digitization strategy has been readily apparent for many years, with experts repeatedly pointing to the benefits that would come from improved access to Canadian history and culture. […]

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October 1, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive