Equustek Solutions v. Google Inc., a case that originated in British Columbia, Canada, in 2014, captured international attention as one of the first internet jurisdiction cases to be considered by a nation’s highest court. My CIGI Policy Brief notes that since then, the case has emerged as a cautionary tale about increasingly aggressive legal approaches with respect to the Internet, with significant implications for online governance.
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The Equustek Effect: How One Case Has Sparked Canada’s Aggressive Approach Over Internet Jurisdiction
Earlier this month, CIGI posted my essay contribution to its series on data governance in the digital age. Data Rules in Modern Trade Agreements: Toward Reconciling an Open Internet with Privacy and Security Safeguards focuses on the policy challenges associated with including data provisions in trade agreements such as the TPP and NAFTA. I also sat down with CIGI for a short video on the essay. It is embedded below.
Data Rules in Modern Trade Agreements: Toward Reconciling an Open Internet with Privacy and Security Safeguards
CIGI’s essay series on data governance in the digital age has shone a spotlight on the need for a national data strategy. My contribution notes that central to any data strategy will be some measure of data control. Given the implications for privacy, security and innovation policies, this includes some control over where data is stored and the conditions under which it is transferred across borders. Yet, despite the mounting data concerns, Canada may have already signed away much of its policy flexibility with respect to rules on both data localization and data transfers, severely restricting its ability to implement policy measures in the national interest.
Last week I delivered the CIGI Global Forum lecture in Ottawa on NAFTA and the Digital Environment. The lecture draws on some of my work for CIGI (NAFTA, Innovation) and makes the case that NAFTA negotiations are a problematic place for digital copyright reform, noting the lack of transparency, lost flexibility, and inability to strike a critical policy balance. Given that the issues are seemingly unavoidable in NAFTA, the lecture then highlights the preferred approach (relying on international treaty standards) and identifies many of the most important issues up for discussion including copyright term, fair dealing, intermediary liability and digital issues such as net neutrality and data localization. A video of the talk is embedded below.
The Centre for International Governance Innovation, the well-respected independent think tank based in Waterloo, has posted the first part of an exceptional new series on innovation. From the introduction from Rohinton Medhora to several pieces on innovation and trade (Kahin, Haggart, Ciuriak, and Van Harten), the series promises to provide politicians and policy makers with valuable insights to support the government’s focus on innovation. I was delighted to participate in the project with a piece titled How Trolls are Stifling Innovators, Gamers and Netflix Junkies.
The contribution, which is accompanied by a video on the impact of copyright and fair use on innovation, identifies several areas of copyright reform that are closely linked to innovation policy. These include copyright flexibilities such as fair use, the need to prevent IP and copyright misuse, and the harms associated with restrictive digital lock rules. The article starts by noting that the Supreme Court of Canada highlighted the link between copyright and innovation in the 2002 Theberge decision: