Defeat of government puts kybosh on copyright, Web traffic snooping legislation

The collapse of Paul Martin’s minority government last month will kill off — at least temporarily — several pieces of proposed legislation to change the way copyright is handled electronically and how police use the Internet in their investigations.
It could also see the incoming government shelve a plan to review the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and the role of the federal Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart.
Shortly before it was defeated in a non-confidence vote, the government tabled Bill C-60, a series of amendments to the Canadian Copyright Act, and the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act (MITA), which would legalize several elements of the “Lawful Access” proposals that affect ISPs across the country.
Both Bill C-60 and MITA have attracted considerable controversy by IT industry firms and public interest groups. Bill C-60, for example, would make illegal any attempts to circumvent technological protection measures (TPMs) that protect media and prevent it from being copied, which alarmed security companies who said they do so for research purposes. MITA, meanwhile, would give police new and expanded powers to demand ISPs secretly monitor and hand over records about their subscribers to police upon request, possibly creating infrastructure and administrative costs for many providers.
Philippa Lawson, director of the Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), said that no matter who wins the election this month, she expects the legislation to be re-introduced as-is. That doesn’t mean CIPPIC won’t take advantage of the opportunity to press for changes, however.
“Both are (laws) on which the government has been working for years, consulting with stakeholders. We will be out there … arguing for a fairer hearing,” she said. “Copyright is about fairness and public interest. What is the vision of the government here in terms of the future of the Internet and access to creative and other work? What is the vision in state surveillance and individual civil liberties?”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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