Last week I delivered the CIGI Global Forum lecture in Ottawa on NAFTA and the Digital Environment. The lecture draws on some of my work for CIGI (NAFTA, Innovation) and makes the case that NAFTA negotiations are a problematic place for digital copyright reform, noting the lack of transparency, lost flexibility, and inability to strike a critical policy balance. Given that the issues are seemingly unavoidable in NAFTA, the lecture then highlights the preferred approach (relying on international treaty standards) and identifies many of the most important issues up for discussion including copyright term, fair dealing, intermediary liability and digital issues such as net neutrality and data localization. A video of the talk is embedded below.
Post Tagged with: "digital rights"
After years of often feeling excluded from the policy making and legislative process, many civil society groups were excited by the prospect of a new government committed to public consultations and feedback. The Liberal government moved quickly to consult on all manner of issues, providing hope that an emphasis on participatory democracy would lead to better policies and an opportunity to incorporate a broader range of perspectives.
My op-ed in today’s Hill Times notes that two years into the Liberal mandate, the consultative process is now a well-established part of how policy is developed. It is nice to be asked for your opinion, but Canada is increasingly facing a consultation crisis as the sheer volume of hearings, notices, and consultations can be overwhelming.
Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the drafting of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal to combine hypertext with the Internet that would later become the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee used the occasion to call for the creation of a global online “Magna Carta” to protect the rights of Internet users around the world.
The desire for enforceable global digital rights stands in sharp contrast to the early days of the Web when advocates were more inclined to tell governments to stay away from the burgeoning medium. For example, John Perry Barlow’s widely circulated 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, asked governments to “leave us alone”, claiming that conventional legal concepts did not apply online.
While the notion of a separate “cyberspace” would today strike many as inconsistent with how the Internet has developed into an integral part of everyday life, the prospect of a law-free online environment without government is even more at-odds with current realities. Rather than opposing government, there is a growing recognition of the need for governments to ensure that fundamental digital rights are respected.
My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that building on Berners-Lee’s vision of global online protections, the World Wide Web Foundation, supported by leading non-governmental organizations from around the world, has launched a “Web We Want” campaign that aims to foster increased awareness of online digital rights. The campaign focuses on five principles: affordable access, the protection of personal user information, freedom of expression, open infrastructure, and neutral networks that do not discriminate against content or users.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on March 15, 2014 as The Web We Want: Could Canada Lead on a Digital Bill of Rights? Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the drafting of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal to combine hypertext with the Internet that would later become the World Wide Web. […]