snIP/ITs Insights on Canadian Technology and Intellectual Property Law

Category Archives: Consumer Protection

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Barry Sookman comments on Google privacy case

Posted in Consumer Protection, Privacy

Our partner Barry Sookman was interviewed by CTV News Channel this morning to discuss today’s Court of Justice of the European Union judgment concerning Google and ordinary people’s “right to be forgotten”. The Court ruled that Google must amend some of its search results at the request of ordinary people when the results show links to outdated, irrelevant information. The case is bound to lead to further questions about the scope of the duties of search engines such as Google under EU laws.

View the interview here.… Continue Reading

CRTC updates FAQs – some clarity, along with some contradictions

Posted in Anti-Spam, Consumer Protection, E-Commerce, Regulatory Compliance

The CRTC just released a new FAQ on CASL, replacing the old one that it released in December 2013 (“December FAQ”). Those hoping the CRTC would take this opportunity to clarify some of the more vexing aspects of CASL and the accompanying Guidelines will be disappointed, as the new FAQ largely incorporates and reiterates material found in the Guidelines and the Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement.

While there are few new tidbits, in some key respects the new FAQ only further muddies the waters. Below are some select issues.… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press – Doing Business in Canada: Navigating Opportunities for Investment and Growth

Posted in Anti-Spam, Consumer Protection, E-Discovery

If your organization is currently thinking about establishing or acquiring a business in Canada, the newest edition of Doing Business in Canada, written by McCarthy Tétrault, will prove to be a valuable resource. The guide provides a broad overview of the legal considerations that non-residents should take into account to help ensure their success as they enter into a business venture in Canada. Each section offers timely information and insightful commentary on different areas of law.

The book includes a chapter on information technology, with sections on:

  • export control of technology
  • consumer protection
  • anti-spam and anti-spyware
  • cyber-libel
  • criminal law

Continue Reading

CASL Applies To You Even If You Aren’t In Canada

Posted in Anti-Spam, Consumer Protection, Regulatory Compliance

CASL is the toughest law of its kind in the world and Canadian organizations are awakening to many major challenges they will face when trying to comply with this legislation.  However, non-Canadian organizations should not overlook the Act’s extra-territorial application and its effect on their respective operations.

CASL’s requirements far exceed those in other countries. Rather than targeting false and misleading e-mails or those sent in violation of an opt-out request such as in the U.S., or limiting the restrictions to direct marketing messages as in the EU, CASL goes much farther. It does the same thing with its “ban … Continue Reading

Legal Implications of Accepting Bitcoin as Payment

Posted in Consumer Protection, Regulatory Compliance

The number of Canadian businesses accepting virtual currencies as a form of payment is growing. Bitcoin is emerging as the most popular of these new currencies – none of which are subject to a central authority. Governments, including Canada’s federal government, are starting to take note, expressing opinions on the applicability of domestic laws and proposing new regulations. It is still early days for virtual currencies, however, and uncertainty remains. Before your business decides to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, consider the practical and legal risks outlined below.

Complying with Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regulations

Compliance with … Continue Reading

2013 Technology Law Year in Review

Posted in Consumer Protection, Contracting/Outsourcing, E-Commerce, M&A/Finance, Privacy, Regulatory Compliance

2013 was a very active year in the tech sector in Canada.  Some of the leading developments over the last year are summarised below.

Tech Transactions – Turbulent Year for BlackBerry (Fairfax transaction)

2013 was a turbulent year for the Canadian leader of the telecommunications industry. It started with a change of name, from Research in Motion Ltd. to BlackBerry, in order to rebrand the company and to be more successful on the stock market. A few months later, BlackBerry publicly announced that it was reviewing its strategic alternatives for the future. In November, BlackBerry received an investment of U.S. … Continue Reading

Tech Law Summit 2013 Recap – Six Minute Lawyer Sessions: Thinking Beyond

Posted in Consumer Protection, Copyright, E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, Regulatory Compliance

At McCarthy Tétrault’s Toronto Technology Law Summit, Bram Abramson, Daniel Glover, James Archer, Bob Nakano, Pat McCay, Naseem Malik, and David Tait, were featured in the Six Minute Lawyer panel. Each lawyer provided brief updates on a variety of topical and timely tech law issues, ranging from the regulation of commercial communications to tax issues.

Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules

Bram Abramson provided an overview of the CRTC Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (“UTRs”), which are overseen by the Commission’s Compliance and Enforcement Section.  These rules cover unsolicited phone calls or faxes for the purpose of solicitation.  … Continue Reading

How to “.Com”ply with Disclosure Rules for Digital Advertising

Part 2: Tips for Businesses Advertising Online in the U.S.

Posted in Consumer Protection, E-Commerce, Regulatory Compliance

In Part 1 of this blog series on digital advertising, we canvassed the disclosure rules in light of the recent the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s recent publication, “.com Disclosures, How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising”. In Part 2 of this blog series, we will set out some tips and guidelines to assist businesses in complying with the disclosure rules and avoid falling afoul the FTC.

Entities conducting business online in the U.S. ought to consider whether its advertising meets these guidelines:

  1. Prominent and Unavoidable: Disclosure should be at least as large as the related claim and
  2. Continue Reading

How to “.Com”ply with Disclosure Rules for Digital Advertising

Part 1: Avoiding Deceptive Advertising in the Digital Age

Posted in Consumer Protection, E-Commerce, Regulatory Compliance

Does the medium matter? According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s recent publication, “.com Disclosures, How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising”, consumer protection laws apply equally to all forms of media and devices, including smartphones, tablets, Facebook, Twitter and the internet. The new FTC guidance, released on March 12, 2013, is an update to the FTC’s 2000 publication, “Dot Com Disclosures”.

As a general rule, the FTC requires that an advertiser provide additional information when an ad makes a claim, express or implied, that might be misleading without more information. To be effective, that … Continue Reading

Ten Tech Law Resolutions for 2012

Posted in Consumer Protection, Copyright, E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, Privacy

January is a great time to make some resolutions for the coming year. In addition to the personal ones you have made, here are 10 involving tech issues that are (or should be) important to your organization.

1. Closing the Loop on Open-Source

Open-source software code and other types of materials and technical artefacts that are subject to open-source licensing models are proliferating in your business.  Some of this material is made available under open-source license agreements that are fairly benign.  In some cases, however, the license agreement can be quite problematic, including requiring you to make available to the … Continue Reading

Do Not Track and Online Behavioural Advertising – Part II: Best Practices

Posted in Consumer Protection, E-Commerce, Privacy

With the push from users and legislators towards DNT and with most browsers providing users with the choice of a DNT setting, it is important for businesses to be ahead of the curve. In addition to an organization’s existing policies and safeguards under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), businesses should have a clear DNT policy and should effectively communicate that policy to the user, explaining exactly what the business is doing with consumer data once a user has chosen not to be tracked.

Mozilla recently put out a useful DNT guide for developers and businesses … Continue Reading

Do Not Track and Online Behavioural Advertising – Part I: Coming to a Parliament Near You?

Posted in Consumer Protection, E-Commerce, Privacy

Privacy versus personalized content – it is the tension that underlies online behavioural advertising (OBA), and increasingly that tension is threatening to snap. OBA is the practice of tracking consumer’s online activities in order to deliver targeted marketing. Businesses stitch together information, like the websites a consumer visits, the content a consumer views and the searches a consumer runs, into a fingerprint of interests and tastes so that the consumer receives more resonant (and ideally more valuable) advertising.

OBA can be extremely valuable to your business. For example, if I purchase peanut butter online, the shopping website may recommend that … Continue Reading

New Consumer Protection Legislation in Australia – Implications for B-2-C Companies

Posted in Consumer Protection, Regulatory Compliance

Early this year, Australia introduced a new set of consumer protection laws that should be of significant interest to any consumer-facing company with operations in Australia, especially given the government’s diligent efforts to inform consumers of their rights and how to exercise them.

The Australian Consumer Law (CPL), which is in fact a schedule to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, is a large consolidation of what was previously a disparate set of 20 or so acts and regulations dealing with consumer protection.

In this post, I provide a non-exhaustive list of CPL issues that I have encountered recently … Continue Reading