On November 5, 2015, The Centre for Law, Technology and Society held a panel that provided an overview of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, its principle concerns, and recent developments at the UN, including Canada’s role and possible implications of the recent federal election in Canada.
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.
On Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., Professor Teresa Scassa will be the featured guest on CBC Radio’s Spark with Nora Young, discussing Smart Cities. Tune in to learn more about the implications for intellectual property, privacy, and transparency of Smart Cities in what promises to be a fascinating program.
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.
“Killer Robots” might sound like a sci-fi thriller, but the threat they pose to international security is very real. A global coalition, which includes Common Law’s Professor Ian Kerr, is calling on Canada and other governments to ban autonomous weapons that would select targets and use force without further human intervention or oversight.
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.
On October 9, 2015, co-leaders of The eQuality Project, Professors Jane Bailey (uOttawa Faculty of Law) and Valerie Steeves (uOttawa Dept of Criminology), met with a delegation of seven officials from South Korea to discuss the issues of online hate propaganda and cyberbullying.