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Bains tweet, https://twitter.com/NavdeepSBains/status/939546556222660609

As the U.S. Retreats, Canada Doubles Down on Net Neutrality: “An Open Internet is Critical to Our Democracy”

As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission prepares to rollback net neutrality protections, the Canadian government has used the controversy to double down on its support for net neutrality safeguards, linking it to democracy, equality, and freedom of expression. I’ve written several posts on how the U.S. decision may impact Canadian Internet users and businesses and noted how Canadian NAFTA negotiators have indicated that they support inclusion of a net neutrality provision within the agreement’s new digital trade chapter.

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December 14, 2017 2 comments News
Copyright Wordle by Chrissie H (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6bJSMe

The Fight for Fair Copyright Returns: Canadian Government Launches Major Copyright Review

The Canadian government kicked off its review of the Copyright Act this afternoon with a motion to ask the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to conduct a study on the issue. The formal launch had been expected for months since the 2012 reforms included a mandatory review of the law every five years. Lobby groups have been steadily gearing up for the review, with some hoping to undo some of the balancing provisions of the last reform process or demanding new restrictions. Indeed, restrictions on fair dealing, takedown rules, website blocking, and copyright term extension will undoubtedly figure prominently in the lobby playbook. Yet for millions of Canadians, the copyright review offers an opportunity to ensure that the law meets the needs of education, innovation, consumer rights, and creators with more flexibility in the form of fair use and restoring neutrality on Canada’s restrictive digital lock rules.

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December 13, 2017 4 comments News
By The White House from Washington, DC (Foreign Leader Visits) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Donald_Trump_Justin_Trudeau_2017-02-13_05.jpg

Canadian Trade Committee Warns Against Unbalanced U.S. IP Demands in NAFTA

The House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade released its detailed study on the priorities of Canadian stakeholders in NAFTA earlier today. I appeared before the committee to discuss intellectual property and digital trade issues in September. The report includes notable recommendations on culture (retain the cultural exemption in NAFTA) and digital rights (ensure that digital trade provisions do not undermine Canadians’ privacy rights or security of their data, a nod to concerns over data localization and data transfer rules). It also features an important discussion on the intellectual property chapter, with clear support for retaining a made-in-Canada approach consistent with international standards.

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December 12, 2017 0 comments News
Boston Net Neutrality Rally by Tim Carter (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/CCkbMB

Net Neutrality Briefing: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

As the concern over U.S. net neutrality rules heats up, last week I appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to provide committee members with an hour-long briefing on the issue. The audio of the appearance can be found here. My opening remarks, which emphasized the Canadian net neutrality framework, the potential impact of U.S. policies, and the implications for privacy and freedom of expression, are posted in full below.

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December 11, 2017 2 comments News
Texting Emoji by Intel Free Press (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/e6Ng39

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Text Messages May Attract Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a landmark decision concluding that text messages may attract a reasonable expectation of privacy even after they have been sent and received. The case recognizes the importance of electronic communications and the privacy implications of electronic messaging, establishing a standard that is likely to have a significant impact on investigations across the country. Further, the court’s emphasis on a functional approach to privacy in the digital world could have implications that extend well beyond conventional text messaging. The court was divided on the issue: four judges comprised the majority (written by Chief Justice McLachlin), Justice Rowe concurred, and Justice Moldaver wrote a dissent (joined by Justice Cote). The court also released a second decision today involving text messaging which examined the intercept provisions that will be the subject of a future post.

The heart of the case was characterized by the majority in the very first paragraph:

Can Canadians ever reasonably expect the text messages they send to remain private, even after the messages have reached their destination? Or is the state free, regardless of the circumstances, to access text messages from a recipient’s device without a warrant? The question in this appeal is whether the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure in s. 8  of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms  can ever apply to such messages.

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December 8, 2017 6 comments News