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Misinformation by 3dpete (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/afAYZL

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 29: Partisan Posts, Social Media, and Misinformation – Taylor Owen on What Actually Happened Online in the 2019 Election

Coming into the 2019 federal election, there were widespread concerns regarding disinformation campaigns, foreign interference, social media advertising and manipulation, and fake news. The federal government enacted legislation designed to foster greater transparency on political advertising, but on the heels of elections elsewhere, the prospect of online harms to the electoral process appeared very real. Taylor Owen of McGill University set out to find out what was actually taking place online. He joined me on the podcast shortly after the election to discuss how social media was being used, political advertising trends, the role of fact checking, and the presence of misinformation and fake news.

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October 28, 2019 2 comments Podcasts
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by World Bank Photo Collection (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/25613452631

What Comes Next for Canadian Digital Policy Under a Liberal Minority Government?

In the closing months of the last Liberal majority government mandate, I spoke to a government official about the lessons learned from the prior four years. Their response?  If we knew then what we know now, we would have moved much faster on policy. The four years moves very quickly and if you don’t manage to lay the groundwork and introduce proposed legislation within the first 12 – 24 months, it becomes very difficult to enact given competing policy priorities, demands on committee time, Senate review, and a myriad of other challenges.

As I think about what comes next for Canadian digital policy under the new Liberal minority government, those words strike me as more relevant than ever. Even if the government runs more like a majority than a minority (which certainly seems likely on digital policy as no one is forcing an election over privacy or wireless pricing), the same ministers return to their portfolios (which may or may not happen) and the same committee structures return largely unchanged (which will not happen since that INDU chair Dan Ruimy was not re-elected), picking up where the government left off in June will not be easy. Further, the Liberal platform provides the roadmap for future reforms, but moving rapidly on these issues – particularly given expectations that a minority government’s mandate may run shorter than a majority – suggests that quick wins will be preferred to extensive legislative reform.

So what are likely next steps on digital policy?

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October 23, 2019 1 comment News
Subhashish Panigrahi [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_Week_stencil_and_card_made_from_stencil.jpg

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 28: The Past, Present and Future of Open Access – A Conversation with Leslie Chan

This week is open access week, an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the emergence and continued growth of open access. Countries have been taking increasingly strong steps toward making their research openly available, with mandates that require researchers who accept public grants to make their published research results freely available online within a reasonable time period. Leslie Chan, a professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and one of the earliest global leaders on open access, joins the podcast this week to discuss its past, present and future.

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October 21, 2019 0 comments Podcasts
CBC Lawsuit vs. Conservative Party

The CBC Lawsuit, Fair Dealing and Future Reform: The Unexpected Arrival of Copyright in Election 2019

As the 2019 federal election winds toward voting day next week, copyright has unexpectedly arrived on the scene. Cultural groups have lamented for weeks that none of the national political parties have discussed copyright, placed it in their platforms, or otherwise committed to reforms. The likely reason – neatly articulated by OpenMedia’s Laura Tribe in this week’s Lawbytes podcast – is that there are no sharp divisions between the parties on copyright that might provide an electoral advantage. Instead, the government conducted an extensive copyright review which led to the Industry Committee’s June 2019 report. That committee, which heard from hundreds of witnesses representing all perspectives, generated a report that received all-party support and provides a roadmap for future reforms (the notable exception being on crown copyright).

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October 17, 2019 3 comments News
Responsibility by Nathan Siemers (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4KZiPv

Platforms or People?: The Liberals and Conservatives Outline Competing Visions of Internet Responsibility

In recent years, there has been growing concern worldwide with the privacy risks associated with mass data collection online, the potential for rapid dissemination of hate speech and other harmful content on the Internet, and the competitive challenges posed by technology companies – often labelled “web giants” – that are enormously popular with the public but which do not fit neatly into conventional cultural and economic policies. My Globe and Mail op-ed argues the Internet policy proposals contained in the Liberal and Conservative platforms offer dramatically different answers to the question that sits at the heart of these policy issues: who should bear responsibility for the potential risks that arise from the Internet?

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October 16, 2019 3 comments Columns