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Michael Geist's Blog

Canadian Security Companies, Heritage Committee MP Concerned Over Copyright Reforms

A group of Canadian security firms have released a public letter also expressing concern over potential Canadian copyright reforms. The companies note the negative impact of the DMCA on security research and urge the government to avoid criminalizing technology. I'm quoted in the Toronto Star's coverage of the letter, noting that the potential rules may render illegal what sits the core of legitimate security research.

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Ontario Court of Appeal Hears Bangoura Appeal

The Ontario Court of Appeal heard arguments yesterday in an appeal of the Bangoura v. Washington Post decision. The case raises significant Internet jurisdiction issues, citing leading cases such as Gutnick. The decision has attracted considerable global attention, with dozens of major media companies intervening in support of the Post. I appeared on CBC's As It Happens to discuss the case (and I wrote about the trial decision when it was first released last year).

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Speaking Out

Today's article on the government plans for lawful access, extended licensing, etc. has been /.ed leading to lots of email from people wanting to do something.
The most obvious place to start is to write to our politicians -- they need to hear from people that are concerned about these proposed privacy and copyright reforms.

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What Do You Want the Internet To Be?

My weekly Law Bytes column (homepage version) highlights several potential Canadian policies that may create a very different Internet. They include ubiquitous network surveillance through the lawful access initiative, ISPs that engage in packet preferencing as in the two cases last week involving Vonage and Telkom Kenya, a new extended license that would require schools to pay millions of dollars for content that is currently freely available on the Internet, and rules that make it far easier to remove an allegedly infringing song than to remove dangerous child pornography. It concludes by riffing on an old Nortel ad campaign by asking whether this is really what we want the Internet to be?

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Pot. Kettle. Black.

Today's National Post Magazine carries a feature (subscription required) on Canadian Recording Industry Association President Graham Henderson. I'm quoted as saying that Henderson is a smart, tenacious guy but that CRIA doesn't represent the views of the entire industry nor of the public interest. Henderson responds with this priceless quote:

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The Battle over Municipal WiFi (Or Sir Adam Beck's Internet)

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, HTML backup article, homepage version) examines the battles over municipal wireless Internet access initiatives. Adam Beck, a provincial cabinet minister from London, Ontario, introduced a bill that created the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. Adopting Power for the People as his slogan, Beck vigorously fought corporate interests who wanted to keep electricity in private hands. He pushed for a public utility that could provide all Ontario cities and towns with affordable electric power generated from Niagara Falls. His vision led to the worlds largest public utility and dramatically changed the lives of rural Ontarians by bringing electricity to thousands of farms and villages.

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World Bank Says Digital Divide Is Closing

The World Bank says that the digital divide between rich and poor nations is closing fast. Last week it issued a draft report that found that telecommunications services to poor countries were growing at an explosive rate.

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The Continuing Saga of Internet Jurisdiction

The Financial Times runs a story on the continuing saga of Internet jurisdiction with a particular focus on the Yahoo! France case, which the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed to rehear. While the business community argues that the case could have a devastating effect on e-commerce, I'm quoted as saying that the world has moved on since the case was brought and most big companies now understand that they risk foreign judgments based on their web presence.

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Copyright and Faith in the Free Market - Now in the Ottawa Citizen

The Ottawa Citizen features my column which focuses on the Canadian recording industry's rejection of alternative compensation systems on the grounds that it prefers to rely on the free market. The column notes that the industry has been a leading proponent of government involvement, consistently seeking both financial support and legislative intervention.

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Lawful Access Back on The Canadian Agenda

The Toronto Star today reports what has been an open secret for a couple of months now -- the Canadian government is moving forward with its lawful access agenda. For those new to the issue, lawful access would require network providers to establish new capabilities to allow for real-time network surveillance.

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