Archive for March, 2009

Role Reversal on TV Tax Debate

Yesterday I attended the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage hearing into the television industry in Canada and its impact on local communities.  The hearing featured MPs from all parties taking CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein to task for not doing enough to save local television broadcasting.  Von Finckenstein rightly noted […]

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March 26, 2009 27 comments News

Ontario Court Orders Website To Disclose Identity of Anonymous Posters

An Ontario court has ordered the owners of the to disclose all personal information on eight anonymous posters to the chat site.  The required information includes email and IP addresses.  The case arises from a lawsuit launched by Richard Warman, the anti-hate fighter, against the site and the posters.  The court focused heavily on the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure, which contain a strong duty of disclosure on litigants. 

The discussion includes a review of many key Internet privacy cases, including the CRIA file sharing litigation (which the court distinguishes on the basis of different court rules) and the Irwin Toy case (which emphasized the importance of protecting anonymity, but which the court tries to distinguish on the basis of the newness of the issue at the time).  The court also looks at the string of recent cases involving child pornography cases and ISP disclosure of customer information, concluding that "the court's most recent pronouncement on this is that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy."

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March 25, 2009 58 comments News

RCMP Seeks Backdoor Wiretap Access to Blackberry Messaging

CBC reports this evening that the RCMP is seeking backdoor wiretap access to Blackberry devices.  The law enforcement agency is concerned that email messaging with the Blackberry is secure and encrypted which raises fears that it is widely used by criminal elements.  Liberal MP Marlene Jennings touts her lawful access […]

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March 24, 2009 12 comments News

When Did CIRA Become the Commercial Internet Registration Authority?

Nearly ten years ago, the Government of Canada wrote a letter to the chair of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) that set out the framework for the management of the dot-ca domain.  The government articulated a vision of the dot-ca domain as a "key public resource" and called on CIRA to act in an open and transparent manner.  CIRA has long sought to live up to those standards, but in recent months the organization has shown an unmistakable shift toward prioritizing commercial gain over the public interest along with a troubling move toward secret decision making.

The first sign of this shift came from the decision to effectively terminate plans to create an external, public interest body to address "excess" funds.  Unlike most not-for-profits, CIRA (along with many country-code domain name registries) is a cash machine with millions flowing from the annual renewals of domain name registrations.  Recognizing that CIRA would eventually generate too much money, the board set in motion the prospect of creating a body that could give back some of that money to the Canadian public by supporting Internet-related activities (similar initiatives have been launched by other ccTLDs).  The process included a public consultation, changes to CIRA's by-laws, and board approvals.  Yet two years later, that approach is now seemingly dead – delayed last year due to other fiscal priorities and now (according to board minutes) replaced by "CIRA Labs" of which little is unknown other than it won't surface for at least another year.

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March 24, 2009 10 comments News

Saskatchewan Drops Plans for Enhanced Drivers Licence

The Saskatchewan government has dropped plans to introduce an enhanced drivers licence, citing cost and public interest concerns, including privacy and security questions about the EDL.

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March 24, 2009 Comments are Disabled News