Utilities may place DRA for police without warrant

In R. v. Gomboc, released last week, the Supreme Court considered whether the police violated the accused’s s. 8 rights by asking his electrical utility to install a digital recording ammeter to monitor his electrical usage. The majority held that it did not for various reasons (4 held that there was no expectation of privacy ...

The legal challenge of Botnets: who is responsible?

Despite a recent spate of research and prosecutions, botnets still pose one of the most alarming threats to internet security. A botnet is a network of infiltrated computers (called “zombies”) that receive commands from a centralized server to perform certain activities. This network, once assembled, is an online army that can launch any number of ...

Canadian wireless company WiLAN sues cable companies

The Canadian wireless company WiLAN has filed a lawsuit against Time Warner, Comcast and Charter Communications, alleging that the cable companies have violated one of its patents by marketing and selling cable modems. The suit, filed in Texas, is one of a long line of recent patent infringement suits by the Ottawa-based company; recently, it ...

Canada’s Controversial Copyright C-32

In another attempt to toughen up Canada’s copyright laws, the hearings for Bill C-32 on Parliament Hill are set to begin in the next few days.  Bill C-32 is an Act to amend the Copyright Act, first tabled on June 2, 2010.  The proposed legislation would legalize certain activities commonly engaged in by Canadians, such ...

The problem with “intellectual property”

I recently read an article by Richard Stallman where it was suggested that “if you want to think clearly about the issues raised by patents, or copyrights, or trademarks, the first step is to forget the idea of lumping them together, and treat them as separate topics”. The essence of the article is that lumping ...

Microsoft and the War on Software Piracy

A recent article in the New York Times provides a comprehensive look at the rapid rise of the involvement of organized crime in software piracy and counterfeiting, and Microsoft’s extensive efforts to combat it. The article raises many interesting issues, including the questions of whether lowering the prices that Microsoft charges for its products would ...

Internet Monopolies

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article describing how the natural efficiencies of large networks can yield an undesirable long term outcome: the monopolization of the internet by a small number of firms. The article draws comparisons to earlier technological monopolies. If the internet is inf fact moving into a similar age of monopolistic ...

U.S. Regulating Internet Privacy

The Obama administration is preparing to strengthen Internet privacy by calling for new laws and the creation of a new regulatory position to oversee the effort, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The strategy is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks by the U.S. Commerce Department.   Previous administrations had shied away from ...

Amazon, free speech, and privacy

It’s almost rote to state that the difference between privacy in Canada and the United States is that the Canadian regime is broad and general while the American is sectoral. At the federal level, Canada has a single overarching law, PIPEDA, while the US has a health privacy act, a video rental privacy act, a ...

UN Treaty against Biopiracy adopted in Japan

As reported by IP-Watch (http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2010/10/29/compromise-un-protocol-treaty-against-biopiracy-adopted-in-japan/), in Nagoya Japan, members of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity adopted an international treaty to help ensure that benefits from using genetic resources are more fairly shared with their source country.  The Access and Benefit Sharing Protocol or “Nagoya Protocol,” will presumably work to combat “bio-piracy.” Biopiracy is ...