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What’s in store for a new session of Parliament, Part 2

With another federal election underway, a number of policy issues with privacy implications have been put on hold until after October 14. The debate over copyright was one of the most contentious issues before the House and certainly one that captured the interest of Canadians throughout the country. Before the election call, we received a letter from James Pew, a music studio owner in Toronto. He voices his concerns as a small business owner over the proposed copyright legislation, pointing out that it “does not take into account the needs of consumers and Canada’s creative community who are exploiting the potential of digital technology”. (You can view his full letter on his blog.)

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What’s your comfort level online?

A recent UK study on social networks found that many users aren’t that concerned about posting personal information online because the whole point of social network sites is to share details about yourself so you can link up with other people and communicate. This point of view is not surprising because it’s human nature to focus on the benefits and not think through all the possible consequences. Also, people’s comfort level online is directly related to assumptions they make about risk.

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A word on copyright reform

Last week, after months of speculation from critics and the media, the Minister of Industry unveiled new amendments to Canada’s intellectual property law, the Copyright Act. Previous attempts to revamp the legislation in 2005 dropped off the radar when Parliament went into election mode. This largely extinguished public debate of the bill, which Canada’s privacy champions had spoken out against. At the time, the privacy commissioners of Canada, Ontario and British Columbia all expressed similar concern over the government’s direction.

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Privacy Issues Discussed At MESH

Some of us from the Office attended the MESH Conference in Toronto last month, jumping at the chance to hear a number of thought leaders and innovators in media, technology and society. Privacy, data protection and reputation management were subjects discussed in several of the sessions, but two video clips are available that demonstrate how online users can have wildly different approaches to privacy and the protection of personal information.

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