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Deeplink by Dirk Vorderstraße (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/A3ZMGM

The Key Takeaway From Steven Guilbeault’s Facebook Use: Linking Should Not Require a Licence

My post yesterday on Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s Facebook use generated considerable attention as many noted the obvious inconsistencies for a Minister that has described linking to news stories on social media sites without payment as immoral, while at the same time actively linking to news stories on his own Facebook feed. While it is difficult to set aside the uploaded broadcaster videos without referral links (which raise thorny copyright issues for someone who shares responsibility for copyright law) and the thousands spent advertising on Facebook (given that Guilbeault has called for reduced digital ad spending), I think the key takeaway comes from his linking to news stories at a number of leading Canadian sources.

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March 10, 2021 4 comments News
Guilbeault Facebook Ad https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/?active_status=all&ad_type=political_and_issue_ads&country=CA&view_all_page_id=270094633001228

Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s Curious Use of Facebook

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault yesterday told the House of Commons Heritage Committee that his department would reduce the amount it allocates to digital advertising, arguing that too much goes to online platforms and that “we need to change this.” The decision to politicize where the government spends its ad dollars is perhaps unsurprising given Guilbeault’s penchant for battling with the tech companies, dating back to his claims that linking to news articles without payment is “immoral.” Leaving aside the question of whether taxpayer funded advertising campaigns should prioritize effectiveness and value for money (personally, I’d prefer that the government emphasize the effectiveness of ad campaigns on issues like COVID-19 vaccination and safe social distancing practices over political posturing even if that means advertising on digital platforms), the reality of Guilbeault’s own Facebook practices do not match up with his rhetoric.

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March 9, 2021 6 comments News
Ministras L. Linkevičius Vilniuje susitiko su Kanados užsienio reikalų ministru Francois-Philippe Champagne by Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/2jVXYEK

Misplaced Priorities: Why Has Canada’s Privacy Bill Disappeared from the Government’s Legislative Agenda?

Last November, then Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains introduced Bill C-11, long overdue privacy reform. The bill appeared to be a top government priority, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasizing that the new law would give Canadians more control over how companies handle their personal information. While the bill isn’t perfect – I wrote posts on some of the benefits and concerns – there was no debating that it represented an important step forward in modernizing Canada’s privacy law.

Yet months after the bill was introduced, it is seemingly going nowhere.

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March 3, 2021 6 comments News
Canada postage stamp: constitution by Karen Horton (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9YFxLN

Is Bill C-10 Unconstitutional? A Former Justice Senior General Counsel Makes the Case It Is

As the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage continues its study on Bill C-10, it has also received some notable submissions from organizations and experts that raise further questions about the wisdom of the bill. One submission not yet posted (but provided to me with the consent to post) comes from Philip Palmer, former Senior General Counsel with the Department of Justice focused on communications law. Palmer spent decades in government focused on telecommunications and competition law issues. His expert opinion is that Bill C-10 is unconstitutional since on-demand streaming services such as Netflix are not inter-provincial undertakings and therefore are not subject to the federal government’s jurisdiction over broadcasters.

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March 2, 2021 6 comments News
Warning Sign by Robert Couse-Baker https://flic.kr/p/daYemu (CC BY 2.0)

Beware the Unintended Consequences: Some Warning Signs for Canada from the Australian Government Battle With Facebook

Last year, the Australian government presented Google and Facebook with an ultimatum: if the companies wanted to continue to allow users to link to news articles, they would be required to compensate news organizations. The Australian plan called for the creation of a mandated code that would create a process to determine the price to be paid for the links. Facebook’s response made it clear that if that was the choice – links with mandated payments or no links – it would choose the latter and block Australian news sharing from its service. While some described this as a threat (including Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault) or a bluff, it turns out the company was serious.

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February 19, 2021 24 comments News