Archive for June, 2014

How Europe is dealing with online privacy by safwat sayed (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bk53au

Say Anything: The Government’s Response to its Disintegrating “Privacy” Reform Strategy

The Supreme Court of Canada’s Spencer decision is still only a few days old, but it has become clear that the ruling has left the government’s privacy and lawful access strategy in tatters. I’ve posted earlier on how the decision – which held that Canadians have reasonable expectation of privacy in their subscriber information and that voluntary disclosure of such information to the police constitutes an unlawful search – blows away the government’s plans for Bills C-13 and S-4 by contradicting longstanding government policy positions.

While there are options for the government to establish reforms that are consistent with the court ruling and that would grant police the access they say they need, government ministers have instead adopted a rather bizarre response of saying anything, no matter how inconsistent with prior positions, the court’s analysis, or public comments from authorities such as the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. There is admittedly a track record for this: Conservatives have dismissed privacy concerns from Carole Todd, the Boys and Girls Club of Canada, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and many more. Further, the Conservative leader in the Senate claims Spencer has “no impact whatsoever” on Bill S-4. 

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June 19, 2014 9 comments News
Treaty for the Blind T-Shirts by Timothy Vollmer (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5SXhgK

Why Has Canada Still Not Signed the WIPO Copyright to Support the Blind?

Countries from around the world last year reached agreement on a landmark copyright treaty designed to improve access to works for the blind and visually impaired. As the first copyright treaty focused on the needs of users, the success was quickly billed the “Miracle in Marrakesh” (the location for the final round of negotiations) with more than 50 countries immediately signing the treaty.

The pact, which was concluded on June 27, 2013, established a one-year timeline for initial signatures, stating that it was “open for signature at the Diplomatic Conference in Marrakesh, and thereafter at the headquarters of WIPO [the World Intellectual Property Organization] by any eligible party for one year after its adoption.”

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that in the months since the diplomatic conference, 67 countries have signed it. The list of signatories includes most of Canada’s closest allies, including the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, and France. The major developing economies such as Brazil, China, and India have also signed the agreement. Curiously absent from the list of signatories, however, is Canada.

The issue was raised in the House of Commons by NDP MP Peggy Nash, leading to the following exchange with Industry Minister James Moore:

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June 18, 2014 11 comments Columns

Why Has Canada Still Not Signed the Copyright Treaty to Support the Blind?

Appeared in the Toronto Star on June 14, 2014 as Canada Still Hasn’t Signed Copyright Treaty to Help the Blind Countries from around the world last year reached agreement on a landmark copyright treaty designed to improve access to works for the blind and visually impaired. As the first copyright […]

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June 18, 2014 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive
Wiertz Sebastien - Privacy by Sebastien Wiertz (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/ahk6nh

Government Rejects Supreme Court Privacy Decision: Claims Ruling Has No Effect on Privacy Reform

Having had the benefit of a few days to consider the implications of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Spencer, the Senate last night proceeded to ignore the court and pass Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act, unchanged. The bill extends the ability to disclose subscriber information without a warrant from law enforcement to any private sector organizations by including a provision that allows organizations to disclose personal information without consent (and without a court order) to any organization that is investigating a contractual breach or possible violation of any law. Given the Spencer decision, it seems unlikely that organizations will voluntarily disclose such information as they would face the prospect of complaints for violations of PIPEDA.

Despite a strong ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that explicitly rejected the very foundation of the government’s arguments for voluntary warrantless disclosure, the government’s response is “the decision has no effect whatsoever on Bill S-4.”

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June 17, 2014 11 comments News
copyright takedown notice by Andrew Allingham (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bw9zNC

Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System to Take Effect in 2015

The government today announced that there will be no additional regulations associated with the notice-and-notice rules that provide rights holders with the ability to have Internet providers forward notifications to subscribers alleging infringement. The government had delayed implementation of the rules amid a consultation on the issue. The notice-and-notice system does not require the ISP to disclose the subscriber’s personal information to the rights holder nor to takedown the content. The system, which other countries are now considering due to its effectiveness, is set to take effect on January 1, 2015.

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June 17, 2014 5 comments Must Reads