Dr. Barry Cartwright will present on the changing face of Canadian Cyber Laws on Thursday 19 June 2014 at 11am (room to be confirmed).
Register to attend here.
presentation contemplates two recent legislative initiatives by the Canadian federal
government—both intended to meet the challenges posed by the rapid expansion of
cyberspace and the concomitant increase in cybercrime—and the debate between
“cyber libertarians” and “cyber cops” that has been set in motion by these
The first piece of legislation, the Copyright Act of 2012, revamped Canadian
copyright law in an effort to address copyright issues in cyberspace. The
legislation introduced concepts such as digital networks, digital memory,
digital copies and digital locks, clarified the liability of ISPs, and
broadened the definitions of telecommunication, publication, public
performances and performer rights. It enabled courts to award statutory damages
ranging from $100 to $5,000 for non-commercial copyright infringement and $500
to $20,000 for commercial copyright infringement, and required ISPs to provide
copyright holders with the electronic location of individuals or commercial
enterprises who had engaged in copyright infringement.
The second piece of
legislation, known as Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, is presently before parliament. The thrust of Bill C-13 is to update
the Canadian Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act, creating a number
of new criminal code offences, including
“sexting;” manufacturing, importing, possessing or selling devices designed to
facilitate theft of telecommunications signals; obtaining or intercepting a
computer service; gaining unlawful access to a computer system; and recording,
storing and disseminating child pornography or hate propaganda.
legislative changes would create a new series of indictable offences, some
carrying potential sentences of between two and ten years of imprisonment. It
would also enable judges to issue warrants to seize digital publications,
representations or recordings of intimate images, and to order the deletion of intimate images and
These recent legislative initiatives have been endorsed
enthusiastically by politicians, police and other government officials, who
argue that greater policing and enforcement powers are necessary to deal properly
with new variants of cybercrime, or old variants of crime that have migrated to
cyberspace. On the other hand, these initiatives have met with scepticism and
dismay on the part of cyber libertarians and the denizens of cyberspace, who view
the Internet as an intellectual commons, and advocate for a “hands off”
Cartwright is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University,
and a member of the university’s International CyberCrime Research Centre. His
areas of interest include cyber-research, cyberbullying, and digital copyright
law. Details here.