Medical privacy now law

DAVID CANTON – For the London Free Press – November 20, 2004

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Ontario’s new law on the privacy of health information will affect every person in the province.

The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), which became law Nov. 1, applies to individuals and organizations involved in the delivery of health-care services.

Some organizations that may not consider themselves in the health-care sector will be subject to PHIPA — it reaches beyond the traditional hospital/doctor setting.

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MPAA sues movie file sharers

The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has started to file lawsuits against those sharing movies on the Internet. This is similar to what the RIAA has done for songs. One article suggested one difference is that the MPAA is apparently going after people with only 1 movie, while the RIAA has focused on those with large numbers of songs.

In the “killing a fly with a sledgehammer” vein is their announcement that they are making software available that people can use to remove from their computers any file-sharing programs and infringing movies or music files. The problem is that file-sharing programs are not illegal. And no doubt the software determines their interpretation of what content is infringing – which may very well be much broader than others would define as infringing.

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Camera Phone Code of Conduct

Phones and pda’s containing cameras are becoming very common. They cause concern for some because they can be discretely used to take photos. Some gyms, for example, have banned them from locker rooms.
The Consumer Electronics Association has published a Camera Phone Code of Conduct. It is a good guide to follow – or perhaps for businesses to adopt for their employees – whenever using cameras of any kind.

CEA Camera Phone Code of Conduct

Database dispute goes on

DAVID CANTON – For the London Free Press – November 13, 2004

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The Ontario Court of Appeal recently decided newspapers cannot put articles on their on-line versions that freelance writers wrote for them without the writer’s permission.

The decision involved the Globe and Mail newspaper and Heather Robertson, a freelance writer. Most current contracts between freelances and newspapers address the right of the newspaper to post articles in on-line versions, but older agreements didn’t.

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Proposed Copyright Reforms Lack Balance

A Globe and Mail article says “Ottawa is about to blunder in cyberspace, lawyers and academics warn.”

Canada is considering reform of its copyright laws. The standing committee on Canadian Heritage has just submitted a report that copyright experts are denouncing as being balanced far too much in favour of creators of material. The proposed reforms, if passed, would affect anyone who has a photo taken of their children, or anyone who surfs the net.

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WTO releases report finding the United States restrictions on online gambling in violation of GATS

The World Trade Organization released its report in which it concluded that U.S. restrictions on on-line offshore Internet gambing violated international trade agreements. The complaint was launched by the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which claims to have suffered losses to its economy because of the restrictions. The United States will of course appeal. news report

WTO decision

Can Canadian cultural, broadcast, and telecommunications policies survive in the age of the Internet?

In an article in the Toronto Star, Professor Michael Geist finds a common thread among several recent Canadian matters – including satellite radio hearings, VOIP hearings, a recent Quebec court ruling that some regulations against gray market satellite TV are unconstitutional, the music downloading litigation, and copyright reform.

That common thread is that the cultural policies that Canada imposes on these matters are not working. The article questions whether Canadian cultural, broadcast, and telecommunications policies (at least in their current form) can survive in the age of the Internet.

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E-mail poses privacy problems

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By DAVID CANTON — London Free Press – November 6 2004

E-mail has revolutionized our workplaces, made workers more efficient and freed us from our desks. But this same communication technology also poses particular privacy risks that need to be carefully considered to minimize accidental disclosure of personal information.

A recent decision by the privacy commissioner of Canada is an example of that risk.

Letters sent by traditional mail can be addressed incorrectly, but e-mail takes the risk of privacy infringement to a whole new level. It’s easy enough to do, as anyone who has accidentally clicked on the “reply to all” button can attest.

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