Home > cdnpoli, CDNTech, CRTC, Digital Policy, Economics, EU, net neutrality, Politics, Privacy > Industry Canada Priorities Take Aim At The CRTC, and Privacy Laws

Industry Canada Priorities Take Aim At The CRTC, and Privacy Laws

Industry Canada has released it’s priorities for 2014 – 2015.  These priorities seem to suggest the government is extremely concerned about barriers put up by telecom sector to the use of e-commerce.  It also suggests that days before the EU starts slapping the US around on privacy concerns, the Canadian government has sent a message that it’s willing to co-operate with the EU on changes to our privacy laws after a threat from the EU to review our privacy laws and possibly put the newly signed CETA trade agreement at risk as a result.

A few points worth highlighting regarding telecommunications policy:

This program develops legal and policy frameworks in the areas of spectrum, telecommunications, privacy protection and online security. It promotes the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian digital economy by regulating commercial conduct and discouraging misconduct in the use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities and by working with the private sector to remove barriers to the use of e-commerce.

The above sounds like an attack on the use of bandwidth caps to me, considering governments previous language on the issue of usage based billing.  If I was CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais right now, I’d be very careful on how he moves forward on the bandwidth cap issue.  It seems to me from the language displayed here, that Industry Canada is watching these “Let’s Talk” proceedings with a keen interest on the wider digital economy.

The below regarding telecommunications policy seems like the government got the message from the EU regarding our privacy laws:

Other elements will include: modernizing the privacy regime to better protect consumer privacy online; monitoring the implementation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation; and deepening analysis of Canada’s communications infrastructure.

Industry Canada will develop a multi-year work plan to fulfill its mandate within the Cyber Security and the Critical Infrastructure Protection strategies. The Department will also work internationally to develop standards that address cyber security and privacy concerns.

On March 12th, 2014 the EU Parliament is expected to raise it’s voice big time over the US’s NSA spying on EU Citizens.  The threats thus far from the EU have been related to putting trade agreements on hold, and suspending the US’s safe harbor for EU data.  The EU has even threatened Canada with a review of our privacy laws to see if they are adequate enough to protect EU citizens from unwarranted interception, which could put the newly signed CETA trade agreement between the EU and Canada at risk.

Will the language on privacy thwart a review of Canadian privacy law by the EU?  I would suspect not, as the EU is extremely upset over the NSA spying, and those that have helped the US in this regard including Canada.  What the language will provide however, is talking points for Industry Minister Moore should the EU have Canadian privacy laws in it’s sights.

On the surface the priorities of Industry Canada regarding telecom and privacy seem to be in-line with Canadians on these issues, however the devil will be in the details regarding future legislation to bring these priorities into law.  Considering pressure from the EU on the privacy front, I’m hopeful  that meaningful changes in our privacy laws are about to occur.

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