Archive for August 28th, 2006

Reflecting on the CRTC’s Hate Site Blocking Decision

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) looks at last week's flurry of activity over Internet-based hate sites at the CRTC, including the request for an order to permit voluntary blocking and the Commission's decision to deny the request on Friday.

Had the CRTC addressed the substantive questions, the case would have presented an enormously difficult choice.  There is little doubt that the content in question is illegal and that Warman faces a serious threat.  By directly targeting Warman, the foreign sites have arguably brought themselves within Canada's jurisdiction.  Further, by merely asking the CRTC to issue a voluntary order, Warman avoided state-sanctioned censorship and placed the issue in the hands of ISPs.

Despite the good intentions behind the application, however, there remains some cause for concern.

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August 28, 2006 12 comments Columns

30 Days of DRM – Day 10: Security Research (Circumvention Rights)

Given the priority currently accorded to security concerns, it is difficult to understand how any government would be willing to undermine security in the name of copyright.  That is precisely what has occurred in the United States, however, where computer security researchers have faced a significant chilling effect on their research due to legal threats from the DMCA.  The U.S. cases are fairly well known: they include Princeton professor Edward Felten facing a potential suit from the RIAA when he planned to disclose his research findings in identifying the weaknesses of an encryption program and Dmitri Sklyarov, a Russian software programmer, spending a summer in jail after presenting a paper at a conference in Las Vegas that described his company's program that defeated the encryption on the Adobe eReader.

Even more compelling are recent comments from Professor Felten at a conference at the University of Michigan. 

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August 28, 2006 2 comments News

Tough Choice for CRTC in Hate Blocking Case

Appeared in the Toronto Star on August 28, 2006 as Content Blocking a Can of Worms    More than a decade ago, John Gilmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, coined the phrase "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." Last week, the Canadian […]

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August 28, 2006 5 comments Columns Archive