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Reference Re PIPEDA (Court File No.: T-1779-18)

In 2017, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada received a complaint claiming that Google violated the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) by showing outdated, inaccurate, and sensitive information about the complainant when individuals search for his name. He thus sought de-indexing as a remedy. Google refused, arguing that it was not subject to PIPEDA when processing search queries relating to an individual’s name. PIPEDA applies to organizations which ‘collect, use or disclose’ personal information ‘in the course of commercial activities’ (s. 4[1][a]). Collection, use or disclosure for ‘journalistic, artistic or literary purposes’ are not subject to the federal privacy law (s. 4[2][c]). As a preliminary matter, the Privacy Commissioner has referred elements of the complaint...
Policy Document

A Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Online Intermediaries

On April 14, 2020, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada released a consultation paper entitled “A Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Online Intermediaries.” With a view to updating Canada’s copyright intermediary regime, the federal government invited public feedback on the issue. The stated goals of the consultation are: (a) to protect and encourage the use of copyright-protected content online; (b) to safeguard individual rights and freedoms in an open Internet; and (c) to facilitate a flourishing digital market. The paper explores options for reform such as clarifying intermediaries’ safe harbour protections, recalibrating the knowledge standard for safe harbour eligibility, clarifying permitted involvement in content curation of qualifying intermediaries, adding...
Court Decision

Rogers Communications Inc. v. Voltage Pictures, LLC

Under the Copyright Act, rightsholders may give notice of claimed infringement to ISPs (s. 41.25 [1]), who must then forward the notice to the alleged infringer (s. 41.26[1][a]), and retain records that would allow the identity of the alleged infringer to be determined (s. 41.26[1][b]). Unless stated otherwise by regulation, ISPs may not charge fees for complying with these obligations (s. 41.26[2]). This notice-and-notice regime does not require ISPs to disclose the identity of the alleged infringer. Rightsholders must obtain a Norwich order to compel identity disclosure. ISPs may be compensated for reasonable costs of compliance with Norwich orders. In Rogers v. Voltage, the Supreme Court affirmed that ISPs are not entitled to compensation for fulfilling their obligations under the notice-and-notice regime. The...

Elections Modernization Act, S.C. 2018, c. 31. / Canada Elections Act S.C. 2000, c. 9

The 2018 Elections Modernization Act amended the federal Elections Act to include several disinformation measures aimed at protecting electoral integrity, with a focus on political advertisement transparency. Notably, platforms must publish a registry of political advertising messages when selling advertising space to political entities during an election (Canada Elections Act, s. 325.1[2]). The registry must include a copy of the messages, and must specify who authorized the publication thereof (s. 325.1[3]). These requirements apply to online platforms publishing partisan advertising (in the 12 months before the first day of a pre-election period) or election advertising (in the 12 months before the first day of an election period) that are used or visited by a defined number of Internet users in Canada per month...
Proposed Law

Proposed Administrative Site-Blocking System for Copyright Infringement

A coalition called FairPlay Canada, largely representing an array of content and media interests, has filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Monday proposing a new site-blocking system. Under the proposal, the CRTC would create an independent agency to "identify websites blatantly engaged in content theft" and require ISPs to block Canadian users from reaching them. The proposal itself is here, Michael Geist has blogged extensively in opposition, including this post. The CRTC is accepting interventions until March 29, 2018.
Proposed Law

Consultation on "Right to Be Forgotten" Under Canadian Privacy Law

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released a draft report, proposing that Canada's existing law be interpreted in line with the Court of Justice of the European Union's Google Spain case. The draft report concludes that the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) establishes a right for individuals to require search engines to de-index results from search results for that person’s name if they link to information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated. Search engines are to remove or demote search results identified by such individuals if appropriate, and the individuals may lodge complaints with the Commissioner for non-compliance. The proposal would be explicitly limited in geographic scope. It would require search engines to use geo-blocking to limit Canadians' access to the...