The Lawbytes podcast resumes for another season with a special episode on privacy as I’m joined on the podcast by Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Commissioner Therrien recently used Data Privacy Day to deliver a speech at the University of Ottawa focused on privacy reforms and a new consultation on AI and privacy. He joined me on the podcast to talk about his term as commissioner, the major challenges he’s faced, the state of Canadian privacy law, and the prospect for reform. Following our conversation, the podcast features audio of the Commissioner’s bilingual speech at the law school.
Wiertz Sebastien - Privacy by Sebastien Wiertz (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/ahk6nh
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 37: The Future of Privacy in Canada – A Conversation with Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien
As the decade nears an end, there have been no shortage of decade in review pieces. This post adds to the list with my take on the most notable Canadian digital cases, legislative initiatives, and policies of the past ten years.
1. The 2012 Copyright Modernization Act
The enactment of the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act in June 2012 brought more than a decade of copyright reform battles to a close and immediately ushered in a new round of debate and lobbying that continues until this day. The reform package was the largest copyright overhaul in years, featuring everything from an expansion of fair dealing (including education as a fair dealing purpose) to protection for non-commercial user generated content to the codification of the notice-and-notice system to legal protection for digital locks. The reforms also legalized longstanding practices such as time shifting, set a cap on liability for non-commercial infringement, and established a new provision to target websites that enable infringement.
The past year has been an incredibly active one for Canadian digital law and policy with important Supreme Court cases, legislative proposals, committee reports, expert panels, and political promises to reform existing laws and regulation. For this final Lawbytes podcast of 2019, I go solo without a guest to talk about the most significant trends and developments in Canadian digital policy from the past year and think a bit about what may lie ahead next year. I focus on five issues: the “euro-fication” of Canadian digital policy, the debate over the competitiveness of the Canadian wireless market, the many calls for privacy law reform, the future of Canadian copyright reform, and the review of Canadian broadcast and telecom law.
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 32: Reflections from the Open Source Member of Parliament – A Conversation with Ex-MP David Graham
David Graham was not your typical Member of Parliament. A Liberal MP from the Quebec riding of Laurentides-Labelle, Graham brought a background in open source issues to Parliament Hill. Over his four years as an MP, Graham was seemingly everywhere when it came to digital policy. Whether in the House of Commons talking net neutrality, the Industry committee copyright review or the Ethics committee work on privacy, Graham emerged as the rare MP equally at home in the technology and policy worlds. Graham’s bid for re-election fell short, but this week he joins the Lawbytes podcast to reflect on his experience in Ottawa with thoughts on copyright, privacy, technology policy, and the use of digital tools for advocacy purposes.
In the closing months of the last Liberal majority government mandate, I spoke to a government official about the lessons learned from the prior four years. Their response? If we knew then what we know now, we would have moved much faster on policy. The four years moves very quickly and if you don’t manage to lay the groundwork and introduce proposed legislation within the first 12 – 24 months, it becomes very difficult to enact given competing policy priorities, demands on committee time, Senate review, and a myriad of other challenges.
As I think about what comes next for Canadian digital policy under the new Liberal minority government, those words strike me as more relevant than ever. Even if the government runs more like a majority than a minority (which certainly seems likely on digital policy as no one is forcing an election over privacy or wireless pricing), the same ministers return to their portfolios (which may or may not happen) and the same committee structures return largely unchanged (which will not happen since that INDU chair Dan Ruimy was not re-elected), picking up where the government left off in June will not be easy. Further, the Liberal platform provides the roadmap for future reforms, but moving rapidly on these issues – particularly given expectations that a minority government’s mandate may run shorter than a majority – suggests that quick wins will be preferred to extensive legislative reform.
So what are likely next steps on digital policy?