Prime Minister Stephen Harper is currently in South Korea reportedly to finalize agreement on the Canada – South Korea trade agreement. The proposed deal has been the subject of a decade of negotiation with opposition from the auto industry resulting in significant delays. While the focal point of the agreement […]
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Over the past eight months, the steady stream of Snowden leaks have revealed the existence of a massive surveillance infrastructure intent on capturing seemingly all communications, including metadata on phone calls, Internet searches, and other online activity. While much of the surveillance originates with the U.S. NSA, the leaks suggest […]
Later this morning, U.S. President Barack Obama will give a speech on U.S. surveillance activities in which he is expected to establish new limitations on the program. While the measures will likely fall well short of what many believe is necessary, it is notable that the surveillance issue has emerged as a significant political issue since the Snowden leaks and the U.S. government has recognized the need to address it.
Reaction to the Snowden leaks in the U.S. has not been limited to political responses. In recent months, Verizon and AT&T, the two U.S. telecom giants, announced plans to issue regular transparency reports on the number of law enforcement requests they receive for customer information. The telecom transparency reports come following a similar trend from leading Internet companies such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook.
The U.S. reaction stands in stark contrast to the situation in Canada. Canadian government officials have said little about Canadian surveillance activities, despite leaks of spying activities, cooperation with the NSA, a federal court decision that criticized the intelligence agencies for misleading the court, and a domestic metadata program which remains shrouded in secrecy. In fact, the government seems to have moved in the opposite direction, by adopting a lower threshold for warrants seeking metadata than is required for standard warrants in Bill C-13.
I delivered a keynote speech titled Taking User Rights Seriously: The Two Weeks That Changed Canadian Copyright as part of the 3rd Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest at the University of Cape Town.
Two weeks changed Canadian copyright for the foreseeable future. In a single day, the Supreme Court of Canada’ ruled on five copyright cases. This was just weeks after the Canadian government passed long-awaited copyright reform legislation. This talk examines the decade-long process that resulted in a seismic shift in Canadian copyright law toward user rights.
Today’s leak of country-by-country positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership reveals the strong isolation of the U.S. on many intellectual property issues and the wide ranging Canadian opposition to many U.S. proposals. With International Trade Minister Ed Fast heading to Singapore for a ministerial round of negotiations, Canada is apparently far apart from the U.S. on many key issues. The areas of disagreement run throughout the IP chapter and include positions on copyright term, digital locks, criminalization of copyright, parallel imports, patents, trademark scope, pharmaceutical protection, and geographical indications. Moreover, there is a notable disagreement on a cultural exception, which Canada wants but the U.S. does not.
A look at the areas of disagreement from the Huffington Post leak: