Over the past few months, the Treasury Board of Canada has quietly been developing a government-wide policy on the use of cloud computing services. The initiative started with an industry engagement event in November that highlighted many of the issues faced by the government. Following that event, the government issued a cloud computing Request for Information that asked the industry to provide detailed information and recommendations on the government’s approach. The deadline for submissions to the RFI close today. Unfortunately, the public is unlikely to gain access to the submissions as the government has promised to keep confidential the information it receives.
The government’s cloud computing RFI provides considerable insight into its current thinking. Of particular interest are the privacy implications of using cloud computing services, particularly where the data is either hosted outside the country or by foreign-owned organizations. While the consultation asks the industry for its views on these questions, the document features proposed contractual clauses that address encryption and data storage. These include:
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In 2010, the federal government implemented important changes to its crown copyright approach. While the law vests full copyright in government works, the government notified the public that it was establishing a non-commercial use licence that gave permission for non-commercial uses without the need for permission. The government stated:
Permission to reproduce Government of Canada works, in part or in whole, and by any means, for personal or public non-commercial purposes, or for cost-recovery purposes, is not required, unless otherwise specified in the material you wish to reproduce.
A reproduction means making a copy of information in the manner that it is originally published – the reproduction must remain as is, and must not contain any alterations whatsoever.
The terms personal and public non-commercial purposes mean a distribution of the reproduced information either for your own purposes only, or for a distribution at large whereby no fees whatsoever will be charged.
The term cost-recovery means charging a fee for the purpose of recovering printing costs and other costs associated with the production of the reproduction.
Up until last week, that remained the approach. As of November 18th, it appears to have changed. First, Publications and Depository Services, the branch within the Public Works and Government Services that handled crown copyright, is no longer doing so. It now provides the following notice:
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The Ottawa Citizen reports that Treasury Board and Canada Post are at odds over making the postal code database openly available to the public. Treasury Board wants the information openly available, while Canada Post wants to charge thousands of dollars for it.
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