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    NDP MP Charmaine Borg Raises Concerns Over Watered Down Anti-Spam Regulations

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    Wednesday February 13, 2013
    NDP MP Charmaine Borg, the party's digital issues critic, has written to Industry Minister Christian Paradis to express concern over the draft anti-spam regulations, noting that they appear to circumvent the will of Parliament. The letter cites testimony from Industry Canada officials in 2010, who told the Industry Committee "what the legislation is trying to do is not allow a third party to give express or implied consent on behalf of another person."  Yet despite that position, the department has now proposed a third party referral exception.  Borg notes:

    After defending their decision to exclude a third party referral exception from the bill, Industry Canada officials, two-years later, introduced the very same exception into the regulations. Yet it was the text of Bill C-28 - explicitly excluding a third-party referral exception - that received multi-partisan support in the House, Industry Committee and the Senate.  It appears that in the intervening two years since Bill C-28 received Royal Assent, Industry Canada has decided to regulate around the will of Parliament.


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    Canadian Chamber of Commerce Attacks Anti-Spam Law: Challenges the Law's Opt-In Requirement

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    Friday February 08, 2013
    For the past two days I've called attention to the shocking demands by business groups, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Marketing Association, and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, to legalize spyware by permitting the secret installation of computer programs to monitor activities of Canadians suspected a potential contravention of the law (including laws such as copyright or any foreign law) or unauthorized use of a computer system (including wireless networks).

    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce added its own submission to the government's consultation on the anti-spam regulations. The Chamber's key concern is the very foundation of the law: opt-in consent that requires businesses to obtain consent before sending commercial electronic messages (subject to a wide range of exceptions). The Chamber says:


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    Canadian Business Groups on Anti-Spam Jurisdiction: It's a Problem Unless It Involves Our Spyware

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    Thursday February 07, 2013

    Yesterday's post on the coalition of business lobby groups support for a spyware provision in the Canadian anti-spam law attracted considerable attention, with many shocked at the breadth of the proposal. While the post focused on how the provision could be broadly interpreted to permit spyware to track copyright infringement, block websites, or to stop attempts to access wireless networks without authorization, it did not discuss yet another serious concern involving the jurisdictional scope of the provision. As noted in the post, the lobby groups, led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Marketing Association, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, have asked the government to create an exception for the express consent requirement on software installation for:



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    Sony Rootkit Redux: Canadian Business Groups Lobby For Right To Install Spyware on Your Computer

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    Wednesday February 06, 2013
    The deadline for comments on Industry Canada's draft anti-spam regulations passed earlier this week with a group of 13 industry associations - including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Marketing Association, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada - submitting a lengthy document  that, if adopted, would gut much of the law. The groups adopt radical interpretations of the law to argue for massive new loopholes or for the indefinite delay of several provisions. I will focus on some of the submissions shortly, but this post focuses on the return of an issue that was seemingly killed years ago: demands to permit surreptitious surveillance by the copyright owners and other groups for private enforcement purposes.

    During the anti-spam law debates in 2009, copyright lobby groups promoted amendments that would have allowed for expansive surveillance of user computers. Coming on the heels of the Sony rootkit scandal, the government ultimately rejected those proposals (the Liberals had plans to propose such amendments but backed down), leaving in place an important provision that requires express consent prior to the installation of computer software. The provision states:


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