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TEDx by Nazila Akbari https://flic.kr/p/tBp66J (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 66: Ann Cavoukian on Why Canadians Can Trust the COVID Alert App

As the second wave of COVID-19 seems to have arrived in many countries, the importance of measures such as social distancing, masks, testing, and tracing takes on increased importance. In Canada, the COVID Alert App is another important part of that toolkit. The app has been downloaded more than 4.5 million times and has been used to alert users to a potential exposure to the virus nearly 1,700 times. Despite the potential benefits, there remain many skeptics. Ann Cavoukian, a three-time Ontario privacy commissioner and one of Canada’s best known privacy experts, joins the LawBytes podcast this week to talk about the exposure notification and how it addresses potential privacy concerns.

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October 19, 2020 0 comments Podcasts
Monopoly Income Tax Ver1 by Chris Potter http://www.ccpixs.com/ (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dAufY9

Forget Link Licensing and Cross-Subsidies: When it Comes to Tech, Canada Should be Focused on Competition Law and Tax Policy

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault was recently asked about his plans to mandate licensing of links to news articles on social-media sites such as Facebook. While the policy is often referred to as a link tax, Mr. Guilbeault insisted that it was not a tax, stating “some people think every time the government acts, it’s a tax. What I’m working on has nothing to do with tax.” Instead of a government tax scheme, Mr. Guilbeault explained that he intends to have the Copyright Board of Canada set a fee for the links to articles, backed by government power to levy fines for non-payment.

Leaving aside the semantic debate over what constitutes a government tax, my Globe and Mail op-ed argues that the comments are notable because when it comes to addressing the concerns associated with the large technology companies, Canada should be working on taxation. Mr. Guilbeault has said his top legislative priority is to “get money from web giants,” yet rather than focusing on conventional tax policy, his preference is to entrench cross-subsidy programs that keep the money out of general tax revenues and instead allow for direct support to pet projects and favoured sectors.

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October 16, 2020 2 comments Columns
Like us on Facebook sign at a shop, Winschoten (2019) 01.jpg by Donald Trung Quoc Don (Chữ Hán: 徵國單) - Wikimedia Commons - © CC BY-SA 4.0 International.(Want to use this image?)Original publication 📤: --Donald Trung 『徵國單』 (No Fake News 💬) (WikiProject Numismatics 💴) (Articles 📚) 21:42, 1 May 2019 (UTC) / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

How Can Linking to an Article be Immoral When the Media Source Itself Does the Posting?

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has called the practice of linking to news articles on social media sites such as Facebook “immoral” and indicated that he plans to establish a new mandated licensing requirement that would be overseen by the Copyright Board of Canada and backed by the threat of government penalties for failure to comply. Guilbeault’s plan, which is part of his “get money from web giants” legislative priority, could result in Facebook blocking all sharing of news articles in Canada, which would harm Canadian media organizations, the broader public, and contribute to increased profile for questionable or misleading sources of news.

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October 15, 2020 4 comments News
Prime Minister Trudeau Announces Canada Will Ban Single-Use Plastics by Adam Scotti (Office of the Prime Minister) https://pm.gc.ca/en/photos/2019/06/10/prime-minister-trudeau-announces-government-canada-will-ban-harmful-single-use

The Guilbeault Internet Plan: Leave it to the CRTC and Copyright Board of Canada to Get Money from Web Giants

In recent months, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has emerged as the de facto digital policy lead minister in Canada with Navdeep Bains largely silent on the race to regulate everything from online linking to how Canadian content is promoted on digital streaming services. New legislation is still forthcoming, but recent comments to industry town halls and press reports provide a good sense of what Guilbeault has in mind. In short, it appears the government will establish an extensive regulatory structure for digital services with registration or licensing requirements and mandated payments for a host of online activities. The amounts payable will be established through hearings at the CRTC and the Copyright Board of Canada. The government would retain the power to fine companies that fail to comply with the payment requirements and use a policy direction to the CRTC to make its policy intentions clear.

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October 13, 2020 4 comments News
COVID Alert App by Michael Geist (CC BY 2.5 CA)

Four Million Downloads and Counting: Everyone Should Install the COVID Alert App

Earlier this summer, I posted on why I installed the COVID Alert App, the national exposure notification app designed to provide Canadians with an alert if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. The post discusses the privacy safeguards that have been built into the app, the reviews from both the federal and Ontario provincial privacy commissioners, and points to previous Lawbytes podcasts (Edwards, Clayton, Kosseim) that discuss the use of technology to help counter the spread of the virus. While there were some concerns (notably the ongoing concerns with social inequities), I concluded that the safeguards combined with the public health benefits were enough to justify installation (Apple, Android).

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October 9, 2020 14 comments News