The San Jose Mercury News carries a report that looks back at the year since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Grokster decision. The RIAA launched 6,000 new lawsuits against file sharers, yet Big Champagne reports that P2P usage has increased by ten percent over the past twelve months.
Archive for July 3rd, 2006
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on last week’s controversy involving Bell Sympatico and a change to its user agreement. The Bell clause, which took effect on June 15th, advised subscribers that the company retains the right to "monitor or investigate content or your use of your service provider’s networks and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy any laws, regulations or other governmental request."
A widely circulated Canadian Press story (which featured several of my comments), noted that the Conservative government is expected to reintroduce lawful access legislation this fall and speculated that the change might have been in anticipation of that statutory reform. Many online pundits also chimed in, pointing to the battle over network neutrality in the United States, expressing fears that the Bell change might be designed to pave the way for a two-tier Internet in Canada under which ISPs levy fees on websites to deliver their content.
For its part, Bell swiftly issued a statement emphatically denying that the amendments were linked to lawful access, maintaining that the company had a "a long and established history of protecting the privacy of its customers."
The gist of the column is that regardless of the motivations for the change – whether harmless drafting amendments, lawful access, or network neutrality – the public and media reaction demonstrates how increased Internet surveillance is a political and business minefield that invariably stirs up vociferous opposition.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 3, 2006 as Bell Clause Creates Problems for Privacy Canadian Internet users were abuzz last week with reports that Bell Sympatico, Canada’s largest Internet service provider, had opened the door to increased customer surveillance through changes to its user agreement. While Bell denied […]