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  • – 2017-09-12 –

    CIPPIC joined the BC Civil Liberties Association, Dr. Christopher Parsons and Privacy International in writing to Canada's two primary national security oversight bodies, SIRC and the CSE Commissioner. Drawing on an analysis of human rights transparency obligations, the letter notes recent efforts by these two bodies to examine cross-border data sharing arrangements entered into by the two agencies they oversee, CSIS and CSE, respectively. It then poses a few questions regarding the oversight bodies' respective abilities to find out about and assess information sharing arrangements, and regarding the processes by which information-sharing arrangements are formed. The letter constitutes the Canadian instance of an international campaign that sent comparable requests to national security oversight bodies in over 40 countries around the world. The objective is to gain a clearer picture of international data flows between national security agencies, and to establish a dialogue with national security oversight bodies on this matter. Read the letter here: https://cippic.ca/uploads/20170913-LT_re_intel_sharing_agreements-CA.pdf

  • – 2017-09-07 –

    CIPPIC joined a number of civil society groups in a submission outlining concerns regarding a proposition by the Council of Europe to adopt a second protocol to its Cybercrime Convention with the objective of lowering current safeguards in place when law enforcement agencies seek access to data stored in foreign countries. The submission, which was spearheaded by our friends at EDRi, establishes a number of preliminary baseline requirements for any international instrument aiming to facilitate cross-border law enforcement access to data. While only a starting point, some of the minimum requirements in the submission will surely need to be addressed if the proposed second protocol is to have the legitimacy and global adoption its authors hope. These include:

    • Limiting the second protocol to addressing gaps left by a reformed MLAT regime
    • The need for competent and independent judicial authorization as a centre-piece to any cross-border data access regime
    • The data hosting state must be notified when a foreign law enforcement agency accesses data hosted within its territory
    • A right to challenge foreign data requests in the country of the affected data subject, and by that country's standards.

    In addition, as pointed out by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation in a comment on the second protocol, the proposal should not operate to lower existing protections such as Canada's prohibition on sharing digital identifiers without judicial authorization or the United States' requirement for probable cause-based production orders. Finally, the letter calls for a prohibition on data localization laws that are imposed without any privacy justification, for the primary objective of imposing often arbitrary and invasive surveillance obligations. For example, Russia has been taking increasingly aggressive steps in compelling global online platforms to host Russian data locally to facilitate invasive surveillance and censorship practices.

  • – 2017-08-18 –

    CIPPIC has joined with dozens of civil society groups across North America to call on Canada, the United States and Mexico to call upon the United States, Mexico and Canada "to meaningfully reform trade negotiation processes to make them more transparent, inclusive and accountable".  

    NAFTA intellectual property and digital trade negotiations could potentially overhaul the normative approach of all three counties to these important areas of law.  Such discussions should actively seek civil society participation, not curtail it.  The August 18th joint letter, penned by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, specifically calls for:

    • public release of text proposals by governments before negotiations, with clear processes established for members of the public to comment on them;
    • consolidated versions of negotiating texts published between negotiating rounds;
    • locations and times of key meetings announced well ahead of time; and
    • the establishment of consultative trade groups that are broadly representative of both business and public interest stakeholders with a commitment to conducting deliberations openly.
  • – 2017-07-18 –

    CIPPIC's submission to Global Affairs Canada on the re-negotiation of NAFTA calls for transparency and caution.  CIPPIC's letter groups its recommendations under three broad categories:

  • – 2017-06-30 –

    A letter was sent today on behalf of coalition comprised of 83 leading organizations and experts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to their respective governments in reaction to renewed state calls for measures that would effectively weaken encryption. The letter responds to a ministerial meeting of the five governments' respective security officials hosted in Ottawa earlier this week, where possibilities for facilitating increased state access to encrypted data were discussed.

    The ministerial occurred under the auspices of the 'Five Eyes' - a surveillance partnership between intelligence agencies within the five countries, including Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE). It generated a joint Communique, which presented encryption as a serious barrier to public safety efforts and an impediment to state agencies wishing to access the content of some communications for investigative reasons.

    The coalition letter, which was organized by Access Now, CIPPIC, and researchers from Citizen Lab, called on the Five Eye governments to "respect the right to use and develop strong encryption" while urging broader public participation in future discussions such as the one that occurred earlier this week. Strong and uncompromised encryption has never been more important, as it protects our most sensitive data, our increasingly critical online interactions, even the integrity of our elections.

  • – 2017-06-28 –

    Creative Commons has published the official translations of the 4.0 licenses in French.  CIPPIC is proud to report that Nicolas Jupillat, one of CIPPIC's past Google Fellows and the lead of the CC Canada translation effort, took this important initiative on and made valuable contributions to what ended up being a two-year effort to bring the translations to the world.

    Creative Commons reports:

    The French language translation involved two face-to-face meetings in 2016, the first in Paris and the second in Ouagadougou. Unique to this translation is that participants from both civil and common law legal traditions converged on a common translation of the six licenses. CC thanks the tireless efforts of translation leads Nicolas Jupillat of CC Canada, Daniele Bourcier of CC France, and Patrick Peiffer of CC Luxembourg. These three were supported in their efforts by many over the course of the translation work, including Esther Ngom from Cameroon and Prof. Tonssira Myriam Sanou from Burkina Faso, who co-organized the Ouagadougou meeting.

    The translations and the face-to-face meetings would not have been possible without funding by Wikimedia Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

  • – 2017-06-23 –

    In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Douez v Facebook, Inc. 2017 SCC 33, that Facebook’s efforts in its terms of service to require Canadians to pursue grievances with Facebook in California courts instead of Canadian courts is unenforceable.

    The case involved a class action against Facebook alleging violations of BC's Privacy Act. The class action could not proceed, however, as Facebook argued that its terms of service require disputes to be resolved in California courts and under California law. Historically, the Supreme Court of Canada's jurisprudence favoured enforcement of these “forum selection clauses” on the rationale that holding sophisticated commercial parties to their jurisdictional choices advances the underlying principles that private international law seeks to achieve.

  • – 2017-06-01 –

    CIPPIC has been awarded a grant from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, through its Contributions Program, for a research project analyzing the activities of data brokers in Canada.

    The project, titled Back on the Data Trail, examines the evolution of the Canadian data broker industry over the past decade. The project picks up CIPPIC’s prior OPC-funded work in this field: in 2006, CIPPIC published a study of Canada’s data broker industry: On the Data Trail: How detailed information about you gets into the hands of organizations with whom you have no relationship. Over a decade later, and despite radical structural changes in Canada’s data broker industry, this report continues to be the leading analysis of the industry. Indeed, the Research Group of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s 2015 discussion paper on the industry, Data Brokers: A Look at the Canadian and American Landscape (September 2014), relied heavily on CIPPIC’s now-dated 2006 report. It is past time to update this important research.

  • – 2017-04-10 –

    Today marks the launch of the 2017 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 join our Summer Internship Program and 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.

    The policy fellow will also participate in our Summer Speaker Series, which brings leading experts in Canadian law & technology fields in to discuss various pressing issues with our students in a closed environment. See past annual bulletins for a list of past speakers, as well as a description of some of our work. Applications are due Friday, April 28, 2017. The fellowship will run for 10 weeks this summer and is open to any law students or law graduate students, with specific times and dates to be coordinated with the host organization. Application details are available at: https://cippic.ca/jobs/google_policy_fellowship_canada_2017.

  • – 2017-04-09 –

    Google Policy Fellowship - Canada

    Google Policy Fellowship (Canada) 2017

    A unique opportunity to spend the summer with one of Canada's leading technology policy research centres.

    Program overview

    The Google Policy Fellowship (Canada) program offers students, researchers, and practitioners interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests.

    Fellows will have the opportunity to work at two of Canada’s premier research groups at the forefront of debates on broadband and content regulation, copyright and creativity, consumer privacy, government surveillance, data security, data innovation, free expression and more.

    Fellows will be assigned a lead mentor at their host organizations and will have the opportunity to work with several senior staff members over the course of the summer. Fellows will be expected to make substantive contributions to the work of their organization, including conducting policy research and analysis, drafting reports and white papers, attending workshops and conferences, and participating in other research activities.

    Who should apply?