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Google Manhole Cover by Joshua Ganderson (CC BY 2.0)

Back to B.C.: Court Re-examines Google Takedown Order In Light of U.S. Ruling

Last year’s Supreme Court of Canada Google v. Equustek case, which upheld a B.C. court’s global takedown order, continues to play out in the courts. The Supreme Court decision noted that it was open to Google to raise potential conflict of laws with the B.C. court in the hopes of varying the order:

If Google has evidence that complying with such an injunction would require it to violate the laws of another jurisdiction, including interfering with freedom of expression, it is always free to apply to the British Columbia courts to vary the interlocutory order accordingly.

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March 9, 2018 4 comments News
Stopping online piracy by Anthony Farris (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, The Finale

Nearly one month ago, I set out to outline the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan. Sixteen instalments later (plus bonus posts on Bell’s astroturfing campaign and the remarkable success of the day of action opposing the plan), I have examined the myriad of problems with the proposal. The objective was never to justify piracy. Rather, it was to conclusively demonstrate that the proposal is disproportionate, harmful, offside international standards, violates Canadian norms, and does not come close to meeting the CRTC’s requirements for approval of website blocking. This post summarizes the key points for each of these five sources of concern. The CRTC is accepting interventions until March 29th, leaving Canadians with several more weeks to speak out to the Commission, their Member of Parliament, and the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains.

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March 8, 2018 2 comments News
Internet Access Here Sign by Steve Rhode (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 16: The CRTC as the Internet Content Regulatory Authority

In Canada, services that broadcast over the Internet don’t need a licence from the CRTC, as we exempted them from this obligation. We do not intervene on content on the Internet.

This statementwe do not intervene on content on the Internet – appears on the CRTC site at the very beginning of a page devoted to TV shows, movies, music and other content online. It may not be a regulatory statement, but it reflects how the CRTC sees itself and how it wants to be seen. Bell and other companies associated with the coalition have regularly tried to drag it into various forms of content regulation under the Telecommunications Act. Yet the Commission has rightly rejected those efforts, emphasizing that it does not licence or judge Internet content nor is it empowered by legislation to do so.

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March 7, 2018 1 comment News
Telecommunication by Connal Hughes + Anjel Van Slyke (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 15: It Undermines the Telecommunications Act Policy Objectives

The CRTC has ruled that it will only permit website blocking in “exceptional circumstances” and only where doing so would further the objectives found in the Telecommunications Act. As yesterday’s post noted, even if the CRTC were to think that the terrible Bell coalition website blocking proposal is worth supporting, the plan falls outside the Commission’s stated rules on website blocking since the application fails to make the case that it furthers the objectives found in the Act.

In fact, not only does the Bell proposal fail to make the case that it furthers the Telecommunications Act objectives, but there is a far better argument that it undermines them. As noted yesterday, the Telecommunications Act identifies nine objectives:

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March 6, 2018 2 comments News
delete by Mixy Lorenzo (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

No Longer Fit for Purpose: Why Canadian Privacy Law Needs an Update

Canada’s private sector privacy law was first introduced 20 years ago, coinciding with the founding of Google and predating Facebook, the iPhone, and the myriad of smart devices that millions of Canadians now have in their homes. Two decades is a long time in the world of technology and privacy and it shows. There has been modest tinkering with the Canadian rules over the years, but my Globe and Mail opinion piece notes the law is struggling to remain relevant in a digital age when our personal information becomes increasingly valuable and our consent models are little more than a legal fiction.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy last week released the results of a comprehensive study into Canadian privacy law. The report, which features 19 recommendations, provides Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains with a road map for future reforms (I appeared before the committee as one of 68 witnesses from across the policy spectrum).

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March 6, 2018 1 comment Columns