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Liberals To Drop Controversial Copyright Lobby Spyware Amendments

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Tuesday October 20, 2009
With the Industry Committee now scheduled to contact its final clause-by-clause review of Bill C-27 on Wednesday, sources in the Liberal Party advise that its MPs plan to withdraw several controversial copyright lobby-inspired amendments to the computer program and spyware provisions. Since first reported on Friday, thousands of emails and letters protesting the proposals have been sent to Industry committee MPs from all parties.  Sources indicate that the Liberals will withdraw three motions actively promoted by the copyright lobby:
  • a new definition of computer program that would have excluded surreptitiously installed DRM from the ambit of the bill
  • an exception to a ban on the "collection of personal information through any means of telecommunication, if the collection is made by accessing a computer system or causing a computer system to be accessed without authorization" in cases related to investigations of breach of agreements or laws
  • an exception for telecom providers to the requirement to obtain express consent before users install programs on their computers
While anything can be happen over the next 24 hours, the decision to withdraw the motions - in combination with the Conservatives reversal on several exceptions that watered down the bill - should mean that the Electronic Commerce Protection Act is preserved as a consumer protection bill as it gets through committee.  However, the lobbying to water down the bill will no doubt continue as the bill moves to the floor of the House of Commons and then on to the Senate.
Comments (10)add comment

ChrisInKW said:

Victory... for now.
This is good news. The battle continues. Keep the pressure on!
October 20, 2009

Anon-K said:

Good
These motions were ripe for abuse:

"a new definition of computer program that would have excluded surreptitiously installed DRM from the ambit of the bill" - Why should DRM software be any different from anything else? Too many software packages, etc, right now don't provide you with access to the T&C prior to making the purchase, and by the time you can see them it is too late to return.

"an exception to a ban on the "collection of personal information through any means of telecommunication, if the collection is made by accessing a computer system or causing a computer system to be accessed without authorization" in cases related to investigations of breach of agreements or laws" - gives them the right to troll around on my computer so long as they use the justification that they are investigating me for breach of a T&C agreement. Even the police need a warrant to do this, so why should the lobby not require it.

"an exception for telecom providers to the requirement to obtain express consent before users install programs on their computers" - someone please tell me with a straight face that Bell or Rogers won't do this for a fee if the motion passed.
October 20, 2009

Yogi said:

...
Good work - but it ain't over till it's over - so everyone stay on guard...
October 20, 2009

Dan said:

Thank You
Thank You Mr. Geist for your continuous hard work on these issues.
October 20, 2009

Laurel L. Russwurm said:

woo hoo!
Sounds good... I may be an optimist by nature but I don't for a minute believe that they're done. I will keep my fingers crossed until the voting is over.

What about the:

"detection or prevention of the unauthorized, fraudulent or illegal use of a network, service, or computer software, including scanning for and removing computer programs" bit?

I'd also like to add my thanks to Mr. Geist.

October 20, 2009

Robert Smits said:

What committee will it go to in the Senate?
OK. Now it would be helpful to know where the bill goes in the Senate and WHEN it should be reported back. It won't help very much if it doesn't get through before an election is called.
October 20, 2009

Anobe said:

...
Well, at least that will teach those annoying bastards about not to be so intrusive and put more shit onto spam or "email shit".
October 20, 2009

Anobe said:

...
Those annoying bastards aka The Copyright Lobbyists that is.
October 20, 2009

MountainView said:

How to control this copyright lobby
The "copyright lobby" in Canada is presumably an offshoot RIAA and MIAA in the US? Michael can we somehow clearly identify individuals and organizations who are the one who keep trying to do this stuff? Its insidious. Their goals just keep expanding. What do they want to do? Control the world??
October 21, 2009

Jason K said:

...
Spyware/malware effects the users systems in so many ways. Even thinking about making ANY exemptions to this law, no matter how smaller is costly to the consumer and Canadian businesses. Spyware itself should be outlawed. It's the "legal" version of a computer virus, and can cause a great deal of harm to computer systems, and networks.

The copyright lobby is getting desperate. Good, but MP's need to step up to the plate as well and protect our Canadian interests and values. We so need a new generation of politics that understands technology. I guess we'll just have to keep spanking these MP's.
October 21, 2009

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