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Pay to Link?: Canadian Heritage Minister Guilbeault Backs Bringing the Link Tax to Canada

Last week, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault called into question his own government’s policies on supporting news media, suggesting that those programs should be replaced by copyright rules that would open the door to payments from internet companies such as Google and Facebook. Mr. Guilbeault indicated that a legislative package was being prepared for the fall that would include new powers for Canada’s communications regulator and what are commonly referred to as Netflix taxes and internet linking taxes.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the government’s support for new internet taxes should not come as a surprise. There were strong signals that the spring budget – postponed indefinitely due to the current public health crisis – was going to include expanding sales taxes to capture digital sales such as Netflix or Spotify subscriptions.

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June 23, 2020 2 comments News
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 56: Elo?se Gratton on Quebec’s Plan to Overhaul its Privacy Law

The state of Canadian privacy law has been ongoing source of concern with many experts concluding that the law is outdated and no longer fit for purpose. This is particularly true when contrasted with rules in the European Union that feature tough penalties and new privacy rights. It would appear that the province of Quebec has concluded that the waiting has gone on long enough. The provincial government recently introduced Bill 64, which if adopted would overhaul provincial privacy laws and provide a potential model for both the federal government and the other provinces.

Elo?se Gratton is a partner at the law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais in Montreal and recognized as one of Canada’s leading privacy law practitioners. She joins the podcast to break down Bill 64 and its implications for privacy enforcement, accountability and new privacy rights.

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June 22, 2020 1 comment Podcasts
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 55: Mutale Nkonde on Racial Justice, Bias, and Technology

The world has been focused for the past several weeks on racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, with millions around the world taking to the streets to speak out against inequality and racism. Technology and concerns about racism and bias have been part of the discussion, with some of the world’s leading technology companies changing longstanding policies and practices. IBM has put an end all research, development and production of facial recognition technologies, while both Amazon and Microsoft said they would no longer sell the technology to local police departments.

Mutale Nkonde
?is an artificial intelligence policy analyst and a fellow at both the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and at Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab. She joins me on the podcast this week from a busy home in Brooklyn, NY to talk about this moment in racial justice and technology, racial literacy, and the concerns about bias in artificial intelligence

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June 15, 2020 2 comments Podcasts
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What the Federal Court of Appeal Anti-Spam Law Case Means for the Interpretation of CASL

The Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling on Canada’s anti-spam law puts to rest persistent claims that the law is unconstitutional. As discussed at length in my earlier post, the court firmly rejected the constitutional arguments in finding that the law addresses a real problem and has proven beneficial. The impact of the decision extends beyond just affirming that CASL is (subject to a potential appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada) here to stay. It also provides important guidance on how to interpret the law with analysis of the business-to-business exception, implied consent, and what constitutes a valid unsubscribe mechanism.

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June 11, 2020 4 comments News
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CASL is Constitutional: Federal Court of Appeal Upholds Constitutionality of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law

Canada’s anti-spam law has been the target of intense criticism since its introduction in 2009 as the Electronic Commerce Protection Act. Even after the law passed in 2010, there was no shortage of effort to delay the regulations needed to put it into effect. Once it finally took effect in 2014, the criticism continued with a steady stream of fanciful suggestions that it would render promotions of neighbourhood lemonade stands illegal and warnings that the law would invariably be challenged in the courts and ruled unconstitutional. In 2017, just as critics were arguing for reforms to the law at the Industry Committee, the CRTC issued its ruling on the matter, determining that the law was in fact constitutional. The issue then proceeded to the Federal Court of Appeal, which last week unanimously upheld the constitutionality of law.

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June 8, 2020 6 comments News