Copyright Reform and Privacy

Major announcement this morning from a broad and loose coalition of public-interest oriented organizations and privacy and civil liberties groups.

They’ve released an open letterSignatories include, Association for Media and Technology in Education in Canada, Atlantic Provinces Library Association, BC Civil Liberties Association, BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, BC Library Association, Colin Bennett, Professor of Political Science, University of Victoria, Canadian Association of University Teachers, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, Canadian Library Association, CLUE : The Canadian Association for Open Source, Consumers Association of Canada, Electronic Frontier Canada, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FLORA.org, Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Marsha Hanen, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Victoria, Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law & Technology at the University of Ottawa, Library Association of Alberta, Online Rights Canada, Ontario Library Association, Bruce Phillips, former Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Privaterra, Pubic Interest Advocacy Centre, Teresa Scassa, Director of the Law and Technology Institute and Associate Professor at Dalhousie Law School, Val Steeves, Professor, Faculty of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Paul Van Oorschot, Canada Research Chair in Network and Software Security, at Carleton University. to the Ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry along with a Background Paper expressing concern over how proposed changes to Canadian copyright law may affect privacy, freedom of expression and civil liberties. The open letter focuses on dangers to privacy posed by the extension of legal protection to “digital rights management” (DRM) technology.

For Slaw readers the best place to start is with the Backgrounder on the legal and policy issues.

In separate letters of support, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, David Loukidelis, and Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, each wrote to Minister of Canadian Heritage Bev Oda and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier to express their concern with the privacy implications of DRM technology.

The Privacy Community’s open letter seeks assurances from the government that:

any proposed copyright reforms will prioritize privacy protection by including a full privacy consultation and a full privacy impact assessment with the introduction of any copyright reform bill;

any proposed anti-circumvention provisions will create no negative privacy impact; and

any proposed copyright reforms will include pro-active privacy protections that, for example, enshrine the rights of Canadians to access and enjoy copyright works anonymously and in private

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