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Conservative Party Mailer

Why Political Parties + Mass Data Collection + Religious Targeting + No Privacy Laws = Trouble

Earlier this week, I opened my mailbox to find the above pictured campaign flyer from the Conservative Party. The flyer asks “Who Is the Real Friend of Israel and the Jewish Community in Canada” on the outside and tries to make the case for the Conservatives on the inside. The flyer was personally addressed to my family and was apparently sent to many Jewish households (or presumed Jewish households). As I noted in a tweet yesterday, I don’t know how my family made it into the Conservative party list. The party might have visited the house, saw a mezzuzah on the door, and made the connection. Maybe it bought a list with the name from a community organization or publication. Or perhaps it just guessed based on geographic areas or names.

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October 11, 2019 4 comments News
ReadMySign by A McLin (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6iEz7o

Why Do Canada’s Political Parties Have a Hard Time Saying No to New Internet and Wireless Taxes?

The question should be an easy, slam-dunk: will you implement new Internet or wireless taxes to support the creation of Canadian content? Given that Canada has some of the highest Internet and wireless costs in the world, rejecting new fees or taxes that would further increase those costs should not require any hedging or attempts to change the subject. In fact, while the Canadian Heritage committee and the CRTC have proposed new wireless fees and taxes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly rejected the approach. For example, minutes after the Heritage report was released, he told the press:

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October 3, 2019 2 comments News
La_Fête_à_Macron,_5_mai_2018_—_74 by Jules Xénard [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

From Innovation to Regulation: Why the Liberals Have Lost Their Way on Digital Policy

The 2015 Liberal campaign platform that vaulted the party from third place to a majority government made a big economic bet that focusing on innovation would resonate with voters and address mounting concern over Canadian competitiveness. Innovation would serve as a guiding principle over the years that followed: The Minister of Industry was reframed as Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, millions were invested in innovation superclusters and global leadership on artificial intelligence was touted as a national priority.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that four years later, the 2019 Liberal party platform does not include a single mention of innovation or AI. Instead, it is relying heavily on ill-fitting European policies to turn the Canadian digital space into one of the most heavily regulated in the world. Rather than positioning itself as the party of innovation, the Liberals are now the party of digital regulation with plans for new taxes, content regulation, takedown requirements, labour rules and a new layer of enforcement commissioners.

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October 2, 2019 3 comments Columns
Kerr event

Celebrating Ian Kerr

This past week there were two notable celebrations of the life and work of Ian Kerr. First, Jotwell published a remarkable tribute featuring 12 short reviews of some of Ian’s most notable scholarship. The collection speaks both to Ian’s breadth of scholarship covering privacy, copyright, e-commerce, robots, and AI as well as his incredible impact with contributors from around the world. I was privileged to wrote about Ian’s 2005 chapter on digital rights management and anti-circumvention laws.

On Friday, September 27th, the University of Ottawa gathered together for a community celebration of Ian. The full video is embedded below. The event included musical performances and speeches from former students, colleagues, collaborators, and admirers. I was honoured to speak and I have posted my remarks below. The event also provided an opportunity to formally launch the Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund, which will support students, events, and research. More information on the fund and how to contribute can be found here.

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September 29, 2019 1 comment News
“A Broad and Liberal Interpretation”: The Supreme Court of Canada Expands Copyright Users’ Rights

“A Broad and Liberal Interpretation”: The Supreme Court of Canada Expands Copyright Users’ Rights

The Supreme Court of Canada today released its decision in Keatley Surveying v. Teranet, a case that involves the application of the Copyright Act’s crown copyright provision to land surveys registered or deposited in provincial land survey offices. The Government of Ontario argued that crown copyright applies to the surveys. The surveyors argued that it did not and were seeking compensation for their inclusion in a database service run by Teranet under licence from the province. The court ruled in favour of the province, concluding that the surveys are covered by current crown copyright provision.

I’ll address the challenges with that decision in an upcoming post, though it is clear that the majority decision written by Justice Abella is open to legislative reform:

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September 26, 2019 4 comments News