The Canadian government often talks about the importance of privacy, but actions speaks louder than words. Not only has privacy reform clearly not been a priority, but the government seems more than willing to use the weak privacy rules to further other policy goals. There is an obvious price for the government’s indifference to privacy safeguards and it is paid by millions of Canadians when major privacy incidents (think Tim Horton’s or Home Depot) result in no substantive changes and no urgency for reform from the government. Indeed, as I noted yesterday on Twitter, the government has managed to rush through user content regulation in Bill C-11 and mandated payments for links in Bill C-18, but somehow privacy reform in Bill C-27 has barely moved. Some of the responsibility must surely lie with Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who brings high energy to everything but privacy reform, but the decision reflects on the entire government.
Wiertz Sebastien - Privacy by Sebastien Wiertz (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/ahk6nh
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 148: Christelle Tessono on Bringing a Human Rights Lens to AI Regulation in Bill C-27
Bill C-27, the government’s privacy and artificial intelligence bill is slowly making its way through the Parliamentary process. One of the emerging issues has been the mounting opposition to the AI portion of the bill, including a recent NDP motion to divide the bill for voting purposes, separating the privacy and AI portions. In fact, several studies have been released which place the spotlight on the concerns with the government’s plan for AI regulation, which is widely viewed as vague and ineffective. Christelle Tessono is a tech policy researcher based at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP). She was one of several authors of a joint report on the AI bill which brought together researchers from the Cybersecure Policy Exchange at Toronto Metropolitan University, McGill University’s Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy, and the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. Christelle joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the report and what she thinks needs to change in Bill C-27.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 142: CCLA’s Brenda McPhail on the Privacy and Surveillance Risks in Bill C-26
Earlier this year, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino introduced Bill C-26, new cyber-security legislation. The bill may address an issue that is widely regarded as essential, but once Canadian privacy and civil liberties had the opportunity to review the fine print in the bill, many came away concerned. Indeed, by September a coalition of groups and experts wrote to the Minister and party leaders, stating “Bill C-26 is deeply problematic and needs fixing”, warning that it risks undermining privacy rights.
Brenda McPhail, the Director of the Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, led the effort to place Bill C-26 in the spotlight. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the bill and the myriad of concerns that it raises.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 139: Florian Martin-Bariteau on the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act
Bill C-27, Canada’s privacy reform bill introduced in June by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, was about more than just privacy. The bill also contains the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA), the government’s attempt to begin to scope a regulatory environment around the use of AI technologies. Critics argue that regulations are long overdue, but have expressed concern about how much of the substance is left for regulations that are still to be developed. Florian Martin-Bariteau is a friend and colleague at the University of Ottawa, where he holds the University Research Chair in Technology and Society and serves as director of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. He is currently a fellow at the Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and he joins the Law Bytes podcast to breakdown the AIDA.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 133: Michael Nesbitt on How the Senate Pushed Back Against a Government Bill on Searching Digital Devices at the Border
It isn’t every day that a Senate committee examines legislation and makes notable changes against the wishes of the government. But that’s what happened last month as a Senate committee reviewed Bill S-7, which raised significant privacy concerns regarding the legal standard for searches of digital devices at the border. A chorus of opposition sparked by Senator Paula Simons led to changes in the bill with the Chair of the committee acknowledging “we did not have one witness except the minister and the officials say that the new standard was a good idea.”
University of Calgary law professor Michael Nesbitt, who teaches and researches in the areas of criminal and national security law, appeared before the committee to argue against the government’s proposed approach. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the bill, the change at the Senate, and what lies ahead as the bill moves to the House of Commons in the fall.