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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 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to include a right to de-index search results with respect to a person’s name that are inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated.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.

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January 29, 2018 8 comments Columns
Press Conference with the Prime Minister of Canada by World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/E8nVj4

Don’t Make the TPP Mistake Again: Why Canada Needs to Maintain a Progressive Approach on IP in NAFTA

The intellectual property chapter has not been a focal point of the NAFTA negotiations this week in Montreal, but the successful conclusion of the TPP11 (or CPTPP) serves as a reminder that it is likely to emerge as a contentious issue in the months ahead. The U.S. position on the NAFTA IP chapter is clear: it wants to replicate the original TPP IP chapter. Yet Canada now stands opposed to that chapter having backed the suspension of many of its provisions including copyright term extension, digital locks, notice-and-takedown, patent protections, biologics protections, and pharmaceutical plan rules. In fact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week cited changes to the IP provisions as one example of how the government worked to make the TPP more progressive.

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January 26, 2018 6 comments News
"FREE SPEECH*" by Newtown grafitti (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/atCVZq

NAFTA Offers Chance for Much-Needed Internet Safe Harbour Rules in Canada

The NAFTA negotiations resume in Montreal this week with Internet liability emerging as an increasingly contentious issue. I was pleased to be part of a group of 55 Internet law experts and organizations that recently urged negotiators to include Internet safe harbour rules that promote freedom of expression in the agreement. The provision, which is already found in U.S. law, would lower barriers to startup online companies, advance free speech, and protect sites publishing consumer reviews.

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January 25, 2018 0 comments News
TPP townhall by @CommerceCanada https://twitter.com/CommerceCanada/status/743239245188435968

When Consultations Count: Why the TPP is a Reminder of the Value of Speaking Out

In June 2016, I appeared at one of the government’s public town hall meetings on the TPP.  Alongside then-International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland (now Global Affairs minister), C.D. Howe’s Daniel Schwanen, and Unifor’s Jerry Dias, I had the chance to raise concerns with the TPP’s IP and e-commerce provisions and then hear from dozens of people who raised a wide range of issues. The town hall was part of a broad public consultation that was frequently derided by critics as a stalling tactic, yet the impact of the consultation was felt with yesterday’s announcement of a deal on a slightly re-worked TPP that includes suspension of many of the most controversial IP provisions.

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January 24, 2018 2 comments News