News

  • – 2018-07-04 –

    We've filed our Memorandum of Fact and Law in our intervention in Cooperstock v. United in the Federal Court of Appeal.  Focusing on trade-mark, CIPPIC argue that interpretation of the Trade-marks Act must be grounded in its nexus to trade and its intrinsic balance of competing interests.  These interests include consumer protection, free competition, and freedom of expression.

    Update:  Also filed: the CCLA intervention, focusing on the copyright aspects of the case.

  • – 2018-06-19 –

    Tech Reset Canada, the Digital Justice Lab, and the Centre for Digital Rights have launched a petition calling for a national conversation about digital rights and human rights. CIPPIC has offered its support to the petition along with other members of Canada’s civil society advocating for Canadians’ digital rights.

    The petition calls on:

    the federal government to convene this national conversation and to respond with a strategy for Canadian digital rights. Such a strategy must include a public education campaign and a consultation process on digital rights, technology ethics, equitable access to the Internet, and the ways these issues impact our quality of life, the governance of our economy, and the safety of our democracy.

    Sign the petition:

  • – 2018-06-18 –

    CIPPIC has been granted leave to intervene before the Federal Court of Appeal in Cooperstock v United, an important consumer criticism case testing the boundaries of defences to copyright and trade-mark infringement.  CIPPIC's intervention is partner to a parallel intervention by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.  CIPPIC will focus on the trade-mark issues, while CCLA will address copyright issues.  Both interventions will explore the ways in which freedom of expression limits the reach of intellectual property rights

  • – 2018-06-06 –

    In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court has overturned the result reached in the Ontario Court of Appeal (and the court of first instance) and stayed an Ontario defamation action in favour of Israel as the most appropriate forum.

    CIPPIC intervened in the case, and was represented by CIPPIC Director David Fewer and co-counsel Professor Marina Pavlovic and Professor Jeremy de Beer.  CIPPIC's intervention focused on access to justice, forum shopping concerns, and technological neutrality.

    The dissenting justices, Chief Justice McLachlan (as she then was) and Justices Moldaver and Gascon, picked up on CIPPIC's access to justice arguments in their forum non conveniens analysis:

    [215] While the plaintiff in this case is wealthy, access to justice concerns are implicated when considering fairness, and must be considered. For many non-wealthy plaintiffs, being denied access to the courts of a particular jurisdiction — typically their home forum — means being denied justice altogether. In those cases, fairness would weigh even more heavily in favour of the plaintiff’s choice of forum.

  • – 2018-04-23 –

    CIPPIC Summer Internship Program offers outstanding law students an unequaled opportunity to work on cutting-edge research and advocacy issues relating to law and technology.

    CIPPIC advocacy involves submission of briefs to government and other policy‐makers, intervention in precedent‐setting cases before judicial and quasi‐judicial tribunals, provision of public legal education resources, publication of reports, participation in multi‐stakeholder policy-making forums, provision of expert testimony before parliamentary committees, and advising under‐represented organizations and individuals on relevant public interest issues.

    Working closely with CIPPIC lawyers, interns learn how to be effective researchers, policy analysts, and advocates while contributing to public interest policy and law reform in such areas as copyright law, privacy, consumer protection, telecommunications regulation, net neutrality, free speech and civil liberties on the Internet. Interns may additionally have opportunities to attend conferences and workshops such as the CIPPIC summer speaker series and to participate in other aspects of the Centre for Law, Society, & Technology.

  • – 2018-04-16 –

    We are pleased to announce that we are now receiving applications for our 2018 Google Policy Fellowship (Canada), which will host a Google Policy Fellow at each of Canada's two leading technology research and policy centres - CIPPIC and the Citizen Lab, University of Toronto. CIPPIC's Google Policy Fellow will work closely with CIPPIC staff on a range of dynamic, cutting edge law & technology issues as we seek to further our public interest mandate. This includes helping to formulate strategy, conducting research and analysis, and drafting submissions to various levels of court, political and legislative venues, and regulatory bodies. Substantively, CIPPIC advocacy covers a diverse range of digital rights/policy issues, including copyright, privacy/electronic surveillance, telecommunications regulation/net neutrality, online consumer protection, online speech, access to knowledge and more general Internet governance concerns. CIPPIC is strongly committed to a diverse environment, and in particular encourages applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who will enrich our discourse by ensuring it is the product of a diversity of perspectives.

    Applications are due 5 pm EST, May 11, 2018. The fellowship will run for 10 weeks this summer and CIPPIC applications are open to any law students or law graduate students, with specific times and dates to be coordinated with the host organization. Application details can be found at: https://cippic.ca/jobs/google_policy_fellowship_canada_2018.

  • – 2018-04-05 –

    CIPPIC has filed its factum in R. v. Jarvis, SCC Case No. 27833, the voyeurism case involving the high school teacher charged with voyeurism under s. 162(1)(c) of the Criminal Code for using a camera pen to surreptitiously take videos of female students which focused on their chests and cleavage area. The Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that the videos were not taken in "circumstances" in which students had "a reasonable expectation of privacy", a necessary element of the offense. 

    CIPPIC disagrees.  We argue that the phrase, "circumstances giving rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy", must be interpreted consistently with other areas of law that see privacy as equality-enhancing, normative, contextual, and non-risk based.  Our colleague Jane Bailey took the pen and makes a strong case for a robust vision of privacy - one that enhances equality and the ability to assert control over sexual and bodily integrity.

  • – 2018-03-06 –

    CIPPIC has been granted leave to intervene in R. v. Jarvis, SCC Case No. 27833. The case is an appeal of an Ontario Court of Appeal decision acquitting a teacher of a charge under the voyeurism provisions of the Criminal Code.  The accused had used a camera pen to surreptitiously take videos of the chests and cleavage of female students.  The decision under appeal determined that the videos were not taken in "“circumstances giving rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy”, an element necessary to establish the offense of voyeurism. 

    CIPPIC will argue that the Court should interpret “circumstances giving rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy” consistently with the Court’s well-established jurisprudence on privacy: privacy is normative, contextual, and not risk-based.

  • – 2018-01-30 –

    As Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017, winds its way through committee (SECU), the Government has made available a lightly redacted copy of its briefing notes developed in support of the Bill. A central point of contention in Bill C-59 is the proposed CSE Act, which will provide a new and comprehensive framework for the CSE, Canada's foreign signals intelligence agency. Elements of this framework are long overdue, such as its creation of NSIRA, which will have far-reaching capabilities to review the CSE's activities, and an Intelligence Commissioner which, if properly empowered, will provide an independent check on some of the CSE's activities.  However, as we (jointly with the Citizen Lab) pointed out in a recent analysis, the CSE Act requires significant  revision if it is to provide a reasonable framework for the CSE's activities. The briefing notes provide helpful additional insights into Bill C-59 and in particular into some of the CSE's anticipated uses of its new powers embodied in the proposed  CSE Act. However, we re-joined the Citizen Lab in analyzing these briefing notes and concluded that the government's justifications for some of the more controversial elements of the CSE Act (particularly its new poers to carry out cyber operations and an exceptoin that will permit it to direct its ativities at Canadians when collecting 'publicly available information') simply fall short. Specifically, the briefing notes present only the most innocuous uses to which the CSE's new powers might be put, painting an extremely sparse picture of provisions that are far more permissive in scope. The short analysis supplements this sparse presentation, and reaffirms the need for reform of the new proposed provisions. Read the analysis, which is authored by (in alphabetical order) Lex Gill (Citizen Lab), Tamir Israel (CIPPIC) and Christopher Parsons (Citizen Lab) after the jump, or you can obtain the analysis in PDF format here.

    Image Credit: Junaldrao, "Jorge Bamboa, The Tip of the Iceberg", June 2, 2017, CC-BY-ND 2.0, Flickr

  • – 2017-12-21 –

    CIPPIC has filed its intervention factum in Her Majesty the Queen in Right of British Columbia v. Philip Morris International, Inc., SCC No. 37524. The case presents the Supreme Court with a conflict of values: do the privacy interests of third parties bar a defendant to an action from accessing large health datasets in order to challenge the results of the plaintiff’s analysis of that data?

    CIPPIC argues that this conflict between privacy and transparency will be mediate by the dual protections of anonymization procedures, implemented in accordance with guidelines familiar to the health industry, and flexible judicial safeguards embedded in disclosure orders.

    The case raises important issues about the right to challenge the outcomes of analytics performed on large data sets. As we increase our reliance on big data and algorithmic decision-making technologies, privacy and accountability will be increasingly at issue.