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Arif Virani Holodomor by Mykola Swarnyk, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Government Appoints New Chief of Canadian Human Rights Commission Who Linked To Articles Comparing Israelis to Nazis, Called for Israel Boycott, and Shared Platform With Banned Organization

The Globe and Mail features a bombshell story today on a recent government appointment of the chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission that not only calls into question its vetting process, but the fairness of the body charged with addressing online hate in Bill C-63. Less than two weeks ago, Justice Minister Arif Virani announced that Birju Dattani had been appointed as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission for five years. The position is particularly important at this moment given the proposed changes to the Canada Human Rights Act in the Online Harms bill that would expand the scope of Commission work on online hate, including the prospect of dealing with thousands of complaints. Yet what the release did not say is that Birju Dattani once went by the name Mujahid Dattani. Search under that name and it reveals a deeply troubling record of posts and appearances that call into question the ability for Jewish or Zionist Canadians to get a fair, impartial hearing at the Commission.

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June 25, 2024 29 comments News
Rear-view-mirror-caption by Pratheep P S, www.pratheep.com CC BY-SA 3.0 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rear-view-mirror-caption.jpg

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 207: The State of Digital Law and Policy in Canada as Parliament Breaks for the Summer

Parliament adjourned for the summer last week, meaning both the House of Commons and Senate are largely on hold until mid-September. The Law Bytes podcast focuses intensively on Canadian legislative and digital policy developments and with another Parliamentary year in the books, this week’s episode takes a look back and take stock of where things stand. It features discussion on the implementation of the Internet streaming and news bills (C-11 and C-18) as well as an analysis of the current state of privacy, AI, online harms, and digital tax as found in Bills C-27, C-63, C-69, S-210 and C-27.

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June 24, 2024 0 comments Podcasts
Road To Nowhere by Smoky Dan CC BY-NC 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/6rHeYZ

Road to Nowhere: Parliament Breaks For the Summer With Little Accomplished on Digital Policy

The House of Commons adjourned for the summer yesterday with most committees and House debate on hold until mid-September. The government talked up its accomplishments, but on the digital policy front there was little to promote. The government’s most controversial digital-related bills including online harms (Bill C-63) and privacy and AI regulation (Bill C-27) barely moved during the session, a function of badly bloated legislation that create at least as many problems as they solve. With an election a little more than a year away, the clock is ticking and many legislative proposals will be hard pressed to become law.

Where do things stand on the key pieces of legislation?

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June 20, 2024 2 comments News
Parks Canada Truck by Taber Andrew Bain https://flic.kr/p/cXSgVU CC BY-NC 2.0

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 206: James Plotkin and David Fewer on Canada’s Landmark Copyright Ruling on Fair Dealing and Digital Locks

The debate over copyright and digital locks – technically referred to as anti-circumvention legislation – dates back more than 25 years with creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet Treaties and later in Canada with the enactment of the Copyright Modernization Act. The full scope and application of those digital lock rules has been the subject of considerable controversy, particularly over how fair dealing fits into the equation. The Federal Court of Canada recently issued a landmark decision on the issue which concludes that digital locks should not trump fair dealing. CIPPIC, the University of Ottawa’s public interest technology law clinic, raised the key arguments on the issue in an intervention in the case led by James Plotkin, a partner with the law firm Gowlings, and David Fewer, CIPPIC’s Director and General Counsel. They join the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the ruling and to clear up some of the misinformation that has been circulating since its release.

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June 17, 2024 2 comments Podcasts
YouTube Generation by Jonas Bengtsson CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/4Qx6hX

Government Court Filing on Bill C-11: “The Act Does Allow For the Regulation of User-Uploaded Programs on Social Media Services”

The public outcry over the Online Streaming Act is largely in the rear view mirror as the law is now at the CRTC facing years of regulatory and court battles. Last week, the Commission issued its first major ruling on mandated payments by Internet streaming services, a decision that, as I’ve written and discussed, is likely to increase consumer costs with limited benefit to the film and television sector. While Bill C-11 may ultimately become associated with the consumer implications and the CRTC’s failure to consider the market effects, for many Canadians the bill is inextricably linked to fears of user content regulation. For the better part of two years, a steady parade of government ministers and MPs insisted that user content regulation was out of the bill even as a plain reading made it clear that it was in. This week Ministry of Justice lawyers provided their take, arguing on behalf of the government in a court filing that “the Act does allow for regulation of user-uploaded programs on social media services.”

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June 13, 2024 12 comments News