Columns

Some SIM Cards by mroach  (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5jBZEx

Back to Bains: Why the CRTC Has Left Fixing Canada’s Wireless Woes to the Government

Few policy issues have proven as frustrating as the state of Canadian wireless pricing. For the better part of a decade, Conservative and Liberal governments have grappled with overwhelming evidence that Canadian consumers pay some of the highest prices for wireless services in the world. The solution has always seemed obvious: more competition. Yet despite repeated efforts to nudge the market and regulator toward a more competitive environment, the needle has barely moved.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the latest failed effort was sparked by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains’ June 2017 request to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to reconsider a decision on how regional and smaller wireless companies access wholesale roaming services from larger providers.

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March 26, 2018 4 comments Columns
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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 2 comments 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.

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February 2, 2018 12 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.

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January 29, 2018 10 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 […]

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January 12, 2018 9 comments Columns