Archive for March, 2014

The Web We Want: Could Canada Lead on a Digital Bill of Rights?

Appeared in the Toronto Star on March 15, 2014 as The Web We Want: Could Canada Lead on a Digital Bill of Rights? Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the drafting of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal to combine hypertext with the Internet that would later become the World Wide Web. […]

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March 18, 2014 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Why Are Canadian Wireless Carriers Increasing Prices? Because They Can

Yesterday, I was contacted by a Toronto radio station wanting to discuss wireless pricing increases  that have occurred over the past few months (including increases over the weekend at both Rogers and Bell). Their key question was what lay behind the increased prices?  While some might point to reduced roaming revenues or costs associated with the spectrum auction, I believe the answer is far simpler.

The carriers increased prices because they can.

Indeed, this is precisely what the Competition Bureau of Canada concluded could and would happen in its analysis of the wireless environment in Canada.  In its  January 29, 2014 submission to the CRTC, it stated:

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March 18, 2014 22 comments News

Canadian Authors & Publishers: We Demand Education Talk To Us As Long As It Leads to New Payments

The Canadian Copyright Institute, an association of authors and publishers, has released a new paper that calls on the Canadian education community to stop relying on its current interpretation of fair dealing and instead negotiate a collective licence with Access Copyright. The paper was apparently published in the fall but is being released publicly now since Canadian education groups have refused to cave to Access Copyright’s demands.

The CCI document, which raises some of the same themes found in an Association of Canadian Publisher’s paper that distorts Canadian copyright law (thoroughly debunked by Howard Knopf), features at least three notable takeaways: the shift to threats of government lobbying, long overdue admissions that the value of the Access Copyright licence has declined, and emphasis on arguments that have been rejected by the courts and government. There are also three notable omissions: the fact that the overwhelming majority of copying in schools is conducted with publisher permission, the role of technological neutrality, and the relevance of other copyright exceptions. By the end of the document, the CCI and Access Copyright work to fabricate a new fair dealing test that is inconsistent with Supreme Court of Canada rulings as they call for dialogue so long as it leads to a new collective licence.

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March 14, 2014 6 comments News

If U.S. Cloud Computing Isn’t Good Enough for the Canadian Government, Why Should It Be for You?

In August 2011, the federal government announced plans to consolidate more than 100 different email systems used by over 300,000 employees into a single, outsourced email system. While the email transition is currently underway – Bell won the nearly $400 million contract last year – the decision quietly sparked a trade fight with the United States that placed the spotlight on the risks associated with hosting computer data outside the country.

At the heart of the dispute is the emergence of cloud computing services such as web-based email, online document storage, and photo sharing sites. These services are based on a computing infrastructure that relies on huge computer server farms and high-speed network connections that allow users to access their content from any device connected to the Internet.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that cloud computing services offer the promise of convenience and cost savings, but at a price of reduced control over your own content, reliance on third-party providers, and potential privacy risks should the data “hosted in the cloud” be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without appropriate disclosure or oversight.

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March 12, 2014 20 comments Columns

If U.S. Cloud Computing Isn’t Good Enough for the Canadian Government, Why Should It Be for You?

Appeared in the Toronto Star on March 8, 2014 as Time for Consumers to Think Local for Cloud Computing In August 2011, the federal government announced plans to consolidate more than 100 different email systems used by over 300,000 employees into a single, outsourced email system. While the email transition […]

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March 12, 2014 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive