On November 30, 2015 experts in trade and technology – Burcu Kilic, Carolina Rossini, Jeremy de Beer, Michael Geist and Tamir Israel – met at University of Ottawa to discuss the impact of technology provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 6000 page agreement between 12 countries negotiated with the goal of developing a 21st century trade regime.
It was a packed room with people either interested to hear what Canada’s role in banning killer robots could be, or curious about what the heck killer robots are. 2L Student Chelsey Colbert-Pollard reports on the panel discussion held by the CLTS on November 5.
One of the joys of copyright law is its tendency to produce unexpected and controversial decisions. Blacklock’s Reporter v. Canadian Vintners Association, an October 16, 2015, judgement from Ontario Small Claims Court, qualifies on both counts. The decision might originate with Small Claims but is nonetheless making big waves. What’s the fuss about?
The official release of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a global trade agreement between 12 countries including Canada, the United States, and Japan, has generated considerable confusion over where the Trudeau government stands on the deal. The TPP was concluded several weeks before the October election and the Liberals were careful to express general support for free trade, but refrain from embracing an agreement that was still secret.
Psychosurgery has a bad name for a good reason. It is often associated with the mid-20th century prefrontal leucotomy (or lobotomy). This procedure garnered its inventor, Egon Moniz, the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1949, and it went on to be applied to thousands of people around the world. In its heyday, the best known promotor of the procedure, Dr. Walter Freeman, travelled widely in his “lobotomobile” performing transorbital lobotomies across the US.
The negotiating phase of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is over. Trade ministers from a dozen countries, representing nearly 40 percent of the global economy, announced the deal in Atlanta in early October. Negotiations took over 5 years, required concessions from everyone and fuelled public controversy. During negotiations, only select industry insiders were privy to secretive information about negotiations, while the rest of us relied on leaks. With the text finally released, the public has only just begun to grapple with the agreement’s complexities. And now comes the hard part: implementation.
Canada has been an early adopter of flexible regulations for limited commercial drone operations. The Canadian Aviation Regulations require all commercial Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV, or “drone”) operators to obtain special permission from Transport Canada before their respective flights. But, in 2014, Transport Canada carved out an exception to this requirement to allow some commercial operations to proceed without the delay. These rules address safety concerns. Other than a brief hat-tip to privacy and a reminder to follow the law, there is no discussion on Transport Canada’s drone webpages or in its rules of the myriad other issues arising from the increasing prevalence of drones in the skies, including privacy, property rights, liability, noise pollution, enjoyment of public space, impact on local businesses, and so on.
Consumer rights in telecommunications are of growing importance for Canadians, since access to telecommunications services is practically universal in Canada. Telecommunications services are pervasive in the daily lives of Canadians regardless of their socio-economic status. Telecommunications services are more than a consumer service—they serve as an important access point for social and economic participation, public legal education, content creation, and citizen engagement. When consumers experience problems with telecommunications services there is a spillover effect on the other aspects of their lives.
No one can deny the significant development of security measures after 9/11 all over the world in order to try to prevent threats of terrorist attacks. However, terrorist groups have developed their strategies by not relying on sending terrorists to other countries. Instead, they remotely work on radicalizing teenagers and young people in other countries through social media. The people working to remotely radicalize teenagers and young people using online social media websites exploit the minimal level of control of published content and the strong values for freedom of expression and against censorship.
A highly publicized scandal rocked Dalhousie University in December 2014 when some of the contents of the all-male “Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen” Facebook page were made public. Contents included: a poll by one fourth-year male dentistry student asking his male colleagues which of their female peers they would “hate fuck”; an invitation from the same student to vote on which of their peers they would like to “sport fuck”; a photo of a bikini-clad woman captioned “bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl)” followed by the comment “Can you tell me what chloroform smells like?”; a post defining “penis” as “the tool used to wean and convert lesbians and virgins into useful, productive members of society”; and one member’s comment on the penis definition post saying “by productive I’m assuming you mean it inspires them to become chefs, housekeepers, babysitters, etc.” (Task Force Report, pp. 5-7).