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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 0 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
Steve Verheul, Chief Trade Negotiator for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), Canada by Polish Institute of International Affairs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/jxP85n

Canada’s Lead Negotiator Confirms Government Seeking Net Neutrality Safeguards in NAFTA

Steve Verheul, Canada’s lead NAFTA negotiator, appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade earlier this week to provide an update on the negotiations. In addition to confirming Canada’s commitment to a cultural exception (Verheul acknowledged that the U.S. “has not reacted positively”), Verheul was asked about the digital trade chapter. He indicated that there has been significant progress on issues such as online consumer protection and privacy.  He also touched on two other issues: one a Canadian ask and the other a U.S. priority.

From a Canadian perspective, Verheul said that Canada wants a net neutrality provision included in NAFTA, noting:

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December 7, 2017 4 comments News
Shaw Go Wifi by Mack Male (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/hbkSXm

Not Just Bell: Shaw Calls on CRTC To Support Website Blocking

As Bell develops plans to apply to the CRTC to create a website blocking agency, it is also working to create a coalition of supportive companies. The initial Canadaland report noted that the coalition could include Rogers, Cineplex, and Cinema Guzzo. Rogers has since indicated that it is still considering whether to join the coalition. As I note in my post today on the submissions to the CRTC’s consultation on broadcasting, Shaw is now also making the case for website blocking, devoting several pages to supporting it. Unlike Bell, however, it does not reference a specific agency mandated to support blocking, focusing instead on court-ordered blocking.

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December 6, 2017 17 comments News