Canadian Law

Rolling Up The Sleeves

So, the election results are in and now it’s time to start asking questions.

What parts of Bill C-51 will remain unaltered and what changes are to be expected under the new government ? Will Canadians be burdened with extra costs to implement these surveillance programs ? What measures will be taken to keep the data secure ?

Does the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement include further intrusions into our copyright ? Will the public be consulted in regards to the key provisions of this agreement prior to signing ? Will our recent reforms be bypassed and superseded by foreign entities and lobbyists ?

We will of course all need to wait until the next budget to know what investments the new government is planning for our digital strategy. But we should know who will be assigned to the key cabinet positions shortly.

What Netflix Tax ?

It should be noted that the CRTC ruled against a “Netflix tax” in March 2015, as stipulated in a March 12th, 2015 article. And that all of the major parties have categorically denied wanting such a tax.

Apparently the only major proponent of this tax was the provincial government of Ontario. But they have since changed their minds according to University of Ottawa Law professor and internet columnist Michael Geist. His March 10th, 2015 blog entry on this issue can be found by clicking here.

HBO To Offer Stand Alone Streaming

Americans will soon be able to subscribe to HBO without subscribing to cable, satellite or IPTV services according to The Wall Street Journal.

The chief executive of HBO informed Time Warner investors today that this service will be made available next year and I suspect many other networks will follow suit. But Canadians will of course be forced to wait for these services as the CRTC decides the future of television.

I certainly hope HBO will choose to bypass the Canadian oligopoly and offer services directly to individuals over the internet like Netflix.

Excellent News For Music Fans

I have just received word that the “Tour Tax”, a prohibitive fee that international artists were subjected to when performing in Canada, has been scrapped.

This counterproductive fee kept newer artists out of Canada, especially independent and unsigned artists, and has caused many clubs to stop featuring live acts altogether. 

Over 143,000 signatures had been registered on a petition promoted on this blog in 2013, which was presented to Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister for Multiculturalism.

Cyberbullying vs Privacy

Bell Canada customers have just received noticed stating their internet bills will be raised by $5 per month, effective June 1st,2014. And of course people who are unaware of the issue would not know why I have just mentioned this in relation to cyberbullying and privacy.

Unfortunately people are unaware that Bill C-13 calls for an extensive amount of record keeping in relation to cyberbullying and other crimes than can be performed online. And this will require equipment and staffing by internet providers, whose associated costs will be handed down to customers.

As a victim of harassment online you might think that I would support such a measure but the costs to Canadians is not only limited to these higher rates. Bill C-13 proposes questionable leniencies in regards to privacy and even cyberbullying victims like Carol Todd are concerned about privacy :

“I don’t want to see our children to be victimized again by losing privacy rights. I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of Canadians’ privacy information without proper legal process.” – Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd.

Carol Todd has asked a Parliament committee on Bill C-13 to separate to more controversial portions of the bill to "allow this bill to be free of controversy and to permit a thoughtful and careful review of the privacy related provisions that have received broad opposition". And I agree because these more questionable parts of the bill may be challenged legally, causing the whole bill to fail.

Harassment should be addressed as should the distribution of illegal photographs and video recordings. But other issues have been added to the bill to justify the loss of privacy and none of the proponents of this bill appear to want to address the possibly failures in the technicalities of this bill.

In interview after interview they deny it will cost Canadians their privacy yet are unable to explain why certain parts of the bill cannot be rewritten to address the concerns.

Warrants can be invalidated in law if certain conditions are not met and this bill proposes that no warrants are required to collect, share and store information, circumventing the conditions imposed on warrants. 

Warrants in no way facilitate luring and the creation and distribution of child pornography so why is it necessary to bypass warrants ? And warrants can address cases of cyberbullying that involve death threats, threats of bodily harm and threats to property because of our current criminal code.

Internet providers can also implement their own policing on other cases by enforcing their own terms of service agreements on their customers, some of which restrict the use of their services to impede the use of the internet by others and include provisions allowing them to provide information to the authorities when a crime is alleged.

Could they not restrict the use of their services to send unsolicited requests for a recipient’s suicide or threats involving the distribution of an image or recording of the recipient ? Could they not state that such acts would result in information being shared with law enforcement, with or without an account holder’s consent or knowledge ?

As a person who has never asked someone to commit suicide or threatened someone with death, bodily harm or with the distribution of an image or recording, my privacy would remain intact under a split Bill C-13. And a guilty party would be convicted under the conditions of a properly issued warrant, without the more controversial portions of the bill, so why am I being asked to sacrifice my privacy ?