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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Of Cyberbullying, Digital Citizenship… and Technological Competence?

OK, Canada may be somewhat behind our neighbours when it comes to adopting rules around technological competence for lawyers, but at least “Digital Citizenship” is getting some traction—or at least with respect to standards for children and parents.

On Friday November 13, 2015, while two more states adopted a duty of technology competence into their codes—and while Canadian law societies maintained unanimous silence on such requirements for lawyers—British Columbia’s Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner and Representative for Children and Youth, released Cyberbullying: Empowering Children and Youth To Be Safe Online and Responsible Digital Citizens. The Privacy . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Manitoba Customer Service Accessibility Standard in Force and Other Accessibility News

The Manitoba Customer Service Accessibility Standard (CSAS) under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) came into effect November 1, 2015. The CSAS requires all of Manitoba’s public, private and non-profit organizations with one or more employees that provide goods or services directly to the public or to another organization in Manitoba, to establish and implement measures, policies and practices to remove barriers for access to the goods or services it provides. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

James Bond, Spectre, and the Surveillance Society

I don’t normally do movie reviews, but Spectre, the latest James Bond movie, has a cautionary tale about the surveillance society that is worth commenting on. It deals with the undemocratic / totalitarian / dystopian aspects of ubiquitous surveillance.

Some reviewers have been critical about the movie, but my view of Bond movies is that they are more about entertainment than plot and character development.

Some elements of the movie are uncomfortably real – like its spin on the five eyes network . After I saw it I wondered what Ed Snowden would think. This is what Wikipedia has to . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Miscellaneous

Justice Minister Trudeau on a Constitutional Bill of Rights

Later this week, Justin Trudeau will be sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada. Although he was elected on his own accord, with a platform and a style that is uniquely his, it’s no surprise that his surname evokes memories reminiscent of his father and former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

One of Prime Minister P.E. Trudeau’s most enduring legal legacies is obviously the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter continues to be the strongest symbol of Canadian identity among the public.

Constitutional reform is unlikely to feature prominently on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s immediate agenda, as he was . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Jurisprudential Aether, Something in the Water, or Something in the Air?

When the Supreme Court of Canada says “X” in 2007, and repeats “X” in 2011 adding explicitly that “X does not mean Y but means Z”, it is reasonable to assume (is it not?) that, once word of what was said in 2007 and repeated in 2011 spreads through the Canadian “jurisprudential aether”, however long that takes, the judges of the lower courts in Canada will pay attention.

It’s always worth quoting this reminder about pecking orders in the Canadian judicial universe:

[51] Any legal system which has a judicial appeals process inherently creates a pecking order for the judiciary

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Finding a Lawyer in a Law Thick World

“We live in a law thick world. To secure a benefit or avoid a loss in this world, we often find that we must somehow use the law. This is as true for global corporations as it is for ordinary individuals…” Noel Semple in Legal Services Regulations at the Crossroads

“Using the law” often requires people to hire lawyers. But, how do people go about finding a lawyer?

Although the Internet has drastically changed how people buy services, choosing a lawyer still necessitates a significant investment in time and resources. Semple remarks in his book that “both quality and price . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Of Banality, #ELXN42 and John Oliver Baiting Charges Under the Elections Act

It’s late in the evening at this moment, and all reports indicate a Liberal majority will form Canada’s next government. But 24 hours ago there was still plenty of uncertainty and spectacle left in this race.

If you missed the awkward clips of Mulcair coming off as “Paul Giammati’s uncle reading a rhyming dictionary”, of Trudeau’s talent for falling down stairs (on purpose), or of Harper “murdering” a cover of Sweet Caroline and coming of as a body snatcher you can catch last night’s spectacle here. Be warned there is nothing remotely SFW on the other side of that . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Laws That Politicians Are NOT Bound By

I’ve seen complaints suggesting emails from those running in the federal election are spam. But CASL specifically exempts political emails from the definition of spam. A recent review of political emails by a mail service provider showed that they are not even trying to comply with the spirit of CASL – such as having unsubscribe mechanisms and contact information.

It’s never been clear to me why those making laws think they deserve to be exempted from many laws they think business need to follow. Perhaps if they applied more laws to themselves some laws might be a lot more user . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Voice Messages Compromised as Electronic Documents?

New technology is apparently capable of reproducing human speech very accurately – i.e. the speech of particular people.

Researchers have found automated and human verification for voice-based user authentication vulnerable, and explore how an attacker in possession of voice audio samples could compromise a victim’s security, safety and privacy.

It seems pretty clear to me that an electronic recording of a voice (as in a voice-mail message) is an electronic document within the meaning of all provincial e-commerce/transactions legislation. We (the folks who wrote the uniform law) considered the voice as a kind of biometric and saw no reason in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, ulc_ecomm_list

Tax Lock Is Unconstitutional, Pointless, and Dangerous

On Friday, the Prime Minister promised if elected he would enact legislation that would create a “tax lock,” preventing future governments from raising taxes,

This new legislation will protect our fragile economy and guarantee reduced taxes and stable incomes for our families.

His party has already promised not to raise taxes, while the other parties have promised they will. This measure goes further, because it would seek to bind the hands of successive governments, without the necessary constitutional amendments.

Former Parliamentary law clerk, Rob Walsh, indicated the proposed legislation would likely be unconstitutional for this reason. The division of powers . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Of Social Media Privacy Through Obscurity

Prof. Woodrow Hartzog is an interesting voice on privacy law and technology. He has written about his own research and interviewed others on the role that obscurity plays in our modern conceptions of privacy. Technologies like encrypted communication applications and device encryption tools can be privacy-enhancing technologies, while obscurity — the condition of being unknown or not entirely comprehensible to others — is a privacy-enhancing state.

Obscurity, it appears, is a state that many of us seek out when it comes to social media, even if we don’t realize it. And if you’re reading this thinking, “I don’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Dianne Saxe Appointed Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

On behalf of the Slaw community, we congratulate our colleague Dianne Saxe on her appointment as Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Her new role takes effect on December 1st, 2015.

As one of Canada’s most respected and knowledgeable environmental lawyers, Dianne has been a key columnist with us here at Slaw since June of 2010. While we are uncertain at this time whether her new role will allow her to continue writing (we hope she will), we are exceptionally proud of her achievement. Dianne is a tireless advocate for our environment and we know she will do well.

Well worth noting: . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous