Information Roundup – May 4, 2008

Here are a couple links for this week.  The second article is a must-read for those who are interested in the privacy issues raised by Web 2.0.

  • Floyd Abrams, “Foreign Law and the First Amendment.” An op-ed on how the British law of defamation values free expression less than American law and supportive of current American legislative initiatives to give courts the jurisdiction to grant declarations that certain speech is protected under American law.  Our own law on this question is arguably in flux after the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Cusson v. Quan, on which leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was granted in early April.  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hal Niedzviecki, “The Spy Who Blogged Me.”  This is an excellent article from this month’s edition of The Walrus.  Mr. Niedzviecki argues that we don’t balk at surveillance because it is now “woven into the fabric of our culture,” a phenomenon he says is partly due to what television has told us about a the benefits of a new type of celebrity that is accessible to the average Joe and Jane.  He speaks with our federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart about self-surveillance and peer surveillance, and through the dialogue you get the impression that Ms. Stoddart’s significant tool – the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act – misses the most complex and significant privacy challenges that we face today.  As Mr. Niedzviecki says, “The rules don’t apply to the multitudes of cellphone-camera-pointing bloggers, social networkers, YouTube uploaders, and nanny cam enthusiasts – you have to sue.”  (The Walrus)

What a great weekend here.  Even the rain on  Saturday made for a cozy afternoon.  Possibly even better because I decided to purge the backlog of materials in my RSS reader.  Kind of liberating eh?


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