The CLTS announces the 2021 Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Privacy Law Awards

Posted on Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Centre for Law, Technology and Society is delighted to announce that Robin McLachlen and Meghan Sali have been awarded the Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Privacy Law Award, respectively for the best essay and best research paper in privacy law.

Launched this year by the University of Ottawa's Centre for Law, Technology and Society, the Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Privacy Law Award aims at recognizing students at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law who have presented outstanding papers on the subject of privacy law.


Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Privacy Law Award for the Best Essay

Robin McLachlen (3rd year of JD) for “Reasonable Expectations Make Unreasonable Inferences”

Abstract: The essay argues that the reasonable expectation of privacy threshold is a legal doctrine woefully inadequate to emerging technologies of surveillance and prediction. Findings of no REP create zones of s. 8 inapplicability wherein the state is impliedly licensed to seize information without judicial oversight or constitutional restraint. Inexpensive automated surveillance technologies promise to radically augment the quantity and quality of information in these zones of s. 8 inapplicability yield. Increasingly powerful computing systems now threaten to use this gathered information to support inferences of alarming accuracy and devastating specificity. In light of these developing powers of surveillance and prediction, the article suggests that the threshold doctrine should be abandoned entirely, with specifically delineated legal authorizations substituted in its place.


Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Privacy Law Award for the Best Research Paper

Meghan Sali (3rd year of JD) for “A Square Peg in a Round Hole : Why Copyright is Not the Answer to the Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate images”

Abstract: This paper responds to a brand of legal realpolitik that says using property law to respond to the non-consensual distribution of intimate images (NCDII) is appropriate and even necessary because its remedial frameworks are well-developed and provide the relief that is often most sought after by victims in the aftermath of an assault: the removal of photos from online platforms. At some level, defaulting to property frameworks is logical where it provides remedies that prove challenging for survivors of image-based sexual abuse to secure through other means. However, relying on copyright for a remedy puts survivors in the position of having to argue that the real harm they have suffered is to their property interests, rather than to their dignity, privacy, and physical safety. Furthermore, copyright remedies fail to respond to the broader societal harms and to the equality interests of women and girls whose participation in public life is limited by this kind of abuse.


Thanks to the generosity of friends and colleagues of Deirdre G. Martin, each student will receive an award of CA$1,500.


The Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Privacy Law Award was established by Deirdre G. Martin’s friends and colleagues in the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Legal Division who want to honour her memory.

All professors teaching a privacy law-related course at the Faculty of Law were invited to nominate the best papers written during the 2020-2021 academic year by a student from the Common Law Section, the Civil Law Section or the Graduate Studies. The Selection Committee was comprised of Professor Michael Geist, Professor Teresa Scassa and Professor Florian Martin-Bariteau.


About Deirdre G. Martin

Deirdre G. Martin earned her law degree cum laude in 1978 from the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section at the University of Ottawa. She was Senior Counsel with the Insurance Bureau of Canada from 1998 to 2006. She was an expert on the application of the federal, Alberta and British Columbia privacy laws to the property and casualty insurance industry. She was a gifted speaker who enjoyed making presentations on the implementation of these privacy laws. Between 2001 and 2004, she gave training seminars and presentations across Canada to over two thousand people from P&C insurance companies, independent brokers and claims adjusters.


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