Post Tagged with: "covid-19"

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After the Tech-Lash: Digital Policy Priorities in the Post-Pandemic World

In the months before the coronavirus outbreak, numerous governments around the world enthusiastically jumped on the “regulate tech” train. Digital tax proposals, content regulation requirements, national digital spending mandates, as well as new privacy and data governance rules were viewed by many as essential to respond to the increasing power and influence of digital giants such as Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the pandemic has not only sparked a massive shift in economic and health policy priorities, but it is also likely to reorient our views of the tech sector. Companies that only months ago were regarded as a threat are now integral to the delivery of medical equipment, critical to the continuing function of workplaces in a work-from-home world, and the platforms for online education for millions of students. Billions of people rely on the sector for entertainment, communication with friends and family, and as the gateway to health information.

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May 6, 2020 4 comments Columns
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 49: Lilian Edwards on the Legal, Ethical and Technology Debate over Coronavirus Contact Tracing Apps

As governments grapple with challenging questions about when and how to relax the current Coronavirus restrictions and give the green light to re-opening businesses, schools, and community spaces, there has been increasing emphasis on the potential for technology to assist with critical activities such as contact tracing. Canada has moved more cautiously on this issue, but the introduction of contact tracing apps seem likely. What will the apps look like and what legal framework is needed to safeguard a myriad of privacy and civil liberties concerns?

Lilian Edwards is a law professor at Newcastle University where she is the Professor of Law, Innovation and Society.  She has been leading a fascinating project that seeks to address the legal concerns that might arise from contact tracing apps with a model bill that could be used to establish safeguards and other legal limits. She joined me on the podcast to talk about the latest developments on contact tracing apps, the growing schism between countries, and the legal rules that could address some of the public concerns.

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May 4, 2020 3 comments Podcasts
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 46: Matthew Herder on the Canadian Effort to Break Down Patent Barriers to Accessing Coronavirus Medicines

Bill C-13, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, was the Canadian government’s legislative response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition a host of economic measures, the bill included some unexpected patent law provisions designed to speed access to essential medicines, devices or treatments. Matthew Herder, the director of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie University, joins the podcast discuss the new Canadian rules, the use of compulsory licensing to enhance access to medicines, and other innovative approaches to overcoming potential access barriers raised by intellectual property laws.

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April 6, 2020 1 comment Podcasts
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 45: David Porter on the Benefits of Open Educational Resources as Millions Shift to Online Learning

Millions of Canadians are at home, schools are closed, and Canada is undergoing an unprecedented shift to distance or online learning. Adapting course materials to the online learning environment can create significant new challenges for teachers and students alike. Open educational resources (OERs) provides a model for convenient, cost-effective access with no copyright barriers to worry about, expensive texts to purchase, or restrictions on adaptation, customization or re-use. David Porter, who has been a leader in open and distance learning since the 1990s, joins the podcast to discuss how the current shift to online learning places the spotlight on the benefits of OERs and open textbooks.

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March 30, 2020 4 comments Podcasts
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How Canada Should Ensure Cellphone Tracking to Counter the Spread of Coronavirus Does Not Become the New Normal

With experts warning that the Coronavirus pandemic may last well into next year, the urgency of limiting the spread of the virus is sure to increase. Cellphone and social media data will increasingly be viewed as a valuable sources of information for public health authorities, as they seek to identify outbreaks in communities more quickly, rapidly warn people that they may have been exposed to the virus, or enforce quarantine orders. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the data culled from these sources may prove invaluable, but they raise exceptionally difficult challenges of balancing public health concerns with fundamental privacy rights.

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March 24, 2020 11 comments Columns