Columns

SOPA/PIPA Protest in NYC Yesterday by Andrew Dallos (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bfjN8c

Canada’s SOPA Moment: Why the CRTC Should Reject the Bell Coalition’s Dangerous Internet Blocking Plan

Six years ago, then Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was challenged over his plans to introduce online surveillance legislation that experts feared would have significant harmful effects on privacy and the Internet. Mr. Toews infamously responded that critics “could either stand with us or with the child pornographers.” The bill and Mr. Toews’ comments sparked an immediate backlash, prompting the government to shelve the legislation less than two weeks after it was first introduced.

This week, telecom giant Bell led a coalition of companies and associations called FairPlay Canada in seeking support for a wide-ranging website blocking plan that could have similarly harmful effects on the Internet, representing a set-back for privacy, freedom of expression, and net neutrality. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the coalition’s position echoes Mr. Toews, amounting to a challenge to the government and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the regulator that will consider the plan) that they can either stand with them or with the pirates.

Read more ›

February 2, 2018 8 comments Columns
Google Main Search by MoneyBlogNewz (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/92t8FA

Why the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s Proposed Right to be Forgotten Creates More Problems Than it Solves

The right to be forgotten, which opens the door to public requests for the removal of search results that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”, has been among the world’s most controversial privacy issues since it was first established in Europe in 2014. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the new right responds to concerns with potential reputational harms from inaccurate or misleading information online, but faces the challenge of balancing privacy protections with the benefits of the Internet for access to information and freedom of expression.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada waded into the debate on Friday with a new draft report concluding that Canadian privacy law can be interpreted to include a right to de-index search results with respect to a person’s name that are inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated. The report, which arises from a 2016 consultation on online reputation, sets the stage for potential de-indexing requests in Canada and complaints to the Privacy Commissioner should search engines refuse to comply.

Read more ›

January 29, 2018 8 comments Columns
Secretary Tillerson Meets With Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland in Ottawa by US Department of State https://flic.kr/p/21AkuS7 US Government Work

Insider Access: Secret Advisory Groups Damage the Credibility of Canada’s NAFTA Negotiations

The Canadian government has frequently touted its commitment to transparency and consultation with respect to its trade negotiations, citing a steady stream of open events and its receptiveness to public feedback. Indeed, since the renegotiation of NAFTA was placed back on the table, officials say they have talked to nearly […]

Read more ›

January 12, 2018 8 comments Columns
Copyrighted button by ntr23 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7jvE7i

The Canadian Copyright Review in the Age of Technological Disruption

The Canadian government launched its much-anticipated copyright review last week, asking the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to conduct a study on the issue that is likely to run for much of 2018. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that while the timelines suggest that major changes will have to wait until after the next election, the report will be the foundation for future reforms to Canadian copyright law.

The instruction letter to the committee from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly points to the challenges of copyright, which invariably engages a wide range of stakeholders with differing perspectives.

Read more ›

December 22, 2017 2 comments Columns
internet is freedom of speech by pgrandicelli BEE FREE (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6F5Cu1

Canada’s Missing Internet Provision: Why NAFTA Offers the Chance to Establish Long Overdue Online Speech Safeguards

During the earliest days of the commercial Internet, the United States enacted the Communications Decency Act, legislation designed to address two concerns with the rapidly growing online world: the availability of obscene materials and the liability of Internet services hosting third party content. While the obscenity provisions in the 1996 law were quickly struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, the liability rules emerged as a cornerstone of U.S. Internet policy.

The rules, which many regard as the single most important legal protection for free speech on the Internet, establish a safe harbour that ensures online services are not liable for the content posted by their users. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that over the past two decades, the CDA Section 203(c) provision has been used by every major Internet service – from Google to Amazon to Airbnb – to ensure that courts, not private companies, determine what is lawful and permitted to remain online.

Read more ›

December 1, 2017 5 comments Columns