On June 20, 2011, ICANN approved a plan to increase the number of Internet domain suffixes (“gTLDs”, e.g. .com) from the current number of 22 to an unlimited number. This expansion of the number of possible domain names is significant and opened up the possibility of registering almost any word in any language (and alphabet) as a gTLD.
ICANN announced on June 13, 2012 that it had received a total of 1,930 new gTLD applications (at a fee of $175,000 per application). Of these applications, 66 are geographic name applications and 116 are applications for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) for strings in scripts such as Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic. Applications were received from 60 countries and territories. Many proposed gTLDs corresponded with brand names (e.g. .google, .yahoo, .bloomingdales), while others were more generic (e.g. .website, .toys, .sport). The list of new gTLDs and their respective applicants may be viewed here. Some of the interesting domains applied for include “adult”, “apple”, “attorney”, “cancerresearch”, “church”, “democrat” & “republican”, “hgtv”, “ooo”, “shopping” and “wiki”.
Internet service providers (“ISPs”) are not subject to Canada’s broadcast regulations, according to a decision recently released by Canada’s top court. In Reference re Broadcasting Act, 2012 SCC 4, the Supreme Court of Canada (the “Court”) confirmed a 2010 decision by the Federal Court of Appeal that held that ISPs are not subject to the federal Broadcasting Act (the “Act”) and therefore not required to contribute to the creation of Canadian content.
The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, the Canadian Media Production Association, and the Directors Guild of Canada and Writers Guild of Canada raised the following question before the Court: do retail ISPs carry on, in whole or in part, “broadcasting undertakings” when, in their role as ISPs, they provide access through the Internet to “broadcasting” requested by end-users? Subsection 2(1) of the Act notably defines a “broadcasting undertaking” to include “a distribution undertaking, a programming undertaking and a network.” The Act further defines the term “broadcasting” to mean “any transmission of programs … by radio waves or other means of telecommunication for reception by the public …”
Children spend more and more time online today than ever before. While parental controls are encouraged by many web browsers, it is virtually impossible to thoroughly monitor or limit children’s online activities and interactions. With the ever-increasing appeal of social networking sites and the pervasiveness of smartphones and their downloadable applications, children’s personal information is more at risk than ever.
While Canada is at the forefront of privacy protection and legislation, the protection of personal information is regulated generally, without specific regard to the protection of children’s personal information. The collection, use and disclosure of personal information is closely regulated in the private sector (by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”), a federal statute, and similar provincial statutes in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec), in the public sector (by the federal Privacy Act and similar provincial statutes), and even in the health sector, where personal health information is subject to various protections. Nonetheless, Canada has not yet adopted legislation to specifically address the question of children’s privacy, whether online or otherwise.
As of December 2010, Canada’s anti-spam legislation, known informally as the Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act (“FISA”), received royal assent. From the early contemplation of FISA by Members of Canada’s Parliament, and among interested players in the private sector, through to the circulation earlier this summer of proposed regulations backstopping FISA, FISA has sparked significant interest by businesses in Canada.
Historically, Canada was a preferred location for spammers and was consistently referenced by international authorities as a haven for those who promulgate spam. In an attempt to uphold Canada’s international responsibilities in fighting spam, Canada responded by passing FISA. There are, among others, two conclusions one can reach on a review of FISA. Canada wanted to show the world that it takes spam seriously and, in so doing, has created a costly legislative labyrinth, one that significantly overreaches its mark, with which legitimate businesses and organizations must comply.
On January 25 of this year, the CRTC released a controversial decision affirming the right of internet service providers to charge for internet services based on usage. Shortly after the decision’s publication, individuals, consumer rights groups and small businesses embarked on a public campaign against the ruling. The CRTC is currently in the process of reconsidering the decision and cabinet has stated that it will overturn the ruling if the CRTC does not.