In case anyone is desperate for a blog to read on these slow US holiday news days, I offer a couple of definitions you may not have heard of.

Microsoft Minute: That flexible and always changing unit of time used when your system tells you how much longer it will take to download or install something.

Oh No Second: That excruciatingly long period of time your panic lasts after realizing you have unintentionally and irrevocably clicked that button that sets in motion an unwanted action – such as sending that half written email to all your customers.

EPIC Privacy and Human Rights Survey

David Fraser reports on his PIPEDA and Canadian Privacy Law blawg this morning about the release of Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s seventh annual Privacy and Human Rights Survey. It details global threats to privacy and related civil rights. The report paints a bleak picture of the erosion of the right to privacy, and the increase in government intrusiveness.

Read the posting and the report

CIRA Whois policy consultation

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority has proposed a new WHOIS policy. Information on owners of domain names is now readily available using a whois search. CIRA’s proposal would limit the amount of information publicly available on individual registrants. Privacy concerns are one of the drivers.

CIRA is inviting comments on the proposed policy any time prior to January 15.

While I have not yet read the proposed policy in detail, one concern is the availablity of that information for legitimate purposes – such as locating an owner of an unused domain name for possible purchase, or finding the owner of sites that may violate the rights of others.

See the CIRA website for details.

Medical privacy now law

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

Read this on Canoe

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.

Continue reading “<strong>Medical privacy now law</strong>” »

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.

Read more at:

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

Read this on Canoe

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.

Continue reading “<strong>Database dispute goes on</strong>” »

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.

Read the article