Coming into the 2019 federal election, there were widespread concerns regarding disinformation campaigns, foreign interference, social media advertising and manipulation, and fake news. The federal government enacted legislation designed to foster greater transparency on political advertising, but on the heels of elections elsewhere, the prospect of online harms to the electoral process appeared very real. Taylor Owen of McGill University set out to find out what was actually taking place online. He joined me on the podcast shortly after the election to discuss how social media was being used, political advertising trends, the role of fact checking, and the presence of misinformation and fake news.
DANGER INTERNETS AHEAD by Les Orchard (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cSsSX
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 29: Partisan Posts, Social Media, and Misinformation – Taylor Owen on What Actually Happened Online in the 2019 Election
Trade agreements have emerged in recent years as one of the federal government’s most frequently touted accomplishments. Having concluded (or nearly concluded) free trade deals with the likes of the European Union and South Korea, senior government ministers such as International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Industry Minister James Moore have held dozens of events and press conferences across the country promoting the trade agenda.
The next major agreement on the government’s docket is the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive proposed trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam, Japan, Peru, and Chile. While other trade talks occupy a prominent place in the government’s promotional plans, the TPP remains largely hidden from view. Indeed, most Canadians would be surprised to learn that Canada is hosting the latest round of TPP negotiations this week in Ottawa.
My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues the secrecy associated with the TPP – the draft text of the treaty has still not been formally released, the precise location of the Ottawa negotiations has not been disclosed, and even the existence of talks was only confirmed after media leaks – suggests that the Canadian government has something to hide when it comes to the TPP.
The Trouble with the Trans Pacific Partnership: My Appearance before the International Trade Committee
Earlier this week, I was invited to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement involving the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a handful of other Asian and South American countries. My comments were critical of the proposed agreement as I focused on two issues: copyright and secrecy. The opening comments sparked a lively debate, with the NDP MPs tabling documents I obtained under the Access to Information Act detailing inside access to TPP information for select stakeholders and the Conservative MPs alternately questioning the validity of leaked texts and providing assurances that draft text could change before the final agreement is concluded. I’ll post the transcript once it is available. In the meantime, my opening remarks are posted below.
The Globe reports that Canada's Human Rights Commission has rejected suggestions that it stop investigating hate messages on the Internet, saying the issue shouldn't be left solely to the Criminal Code. The commission argues that both the criminal code and the Canadian Human Rights Act should be used to deal […]