Policy

Happy New Year, State of our Rights

I didn't have time to create a more formal blog entry with all the references I like to have, but I did post some year-end thoughts to the general mailing list. This may encourage others to join the list and comment as well.

It's not the science, but the fiction.

In the Ottawa GOSLING forum, in response to someone who suggested that opponents to nuclear power didn't care about the science, I wrote the following:

Issues with nuclear power are similar to GMO's. The problem isn't the science, but the inability of our governance structures to manage the complexities and the risks when mismanaged. After watching the C-11 committee hearings my belief in the ability of our governments to make sane decisions about technology is even lower than it was before, and I've always been an opponent of nuclear power and GMO's for governance reasons. The lack of basic science and technology literacy in government is extreme: I think they believe Harry Potter was a documentary.

GMO's = Genetically modified organism

An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting freedom)

While not related to Copyright, I wanted to mention bill C-304 which I have been following.

Among other things, it repeals section 13 of of the Canadian Human Rights Act, something I am strongly in favor of.

Faith-based support of anti-communication legislation

Today many have been raising awareness of USA's SOPA and PIPA. I thought I would back up a bit from those specific initiatives, and discuss just how far apart people are on this type of policy.

Is C-11 consistent with a "low-tax plan for jobs and growth"?

I often joke that copyright policy is as complex, understood, and as exciting, as tax policy. Most Canadians would prefer not to talk of either, and those of us who find either exciting are in a small minority Holidays I reflect on this oddity, given my favorite topics are some of the least interesting for most people I would visit.

I thought it would be interesting to start 2012 with a discussion of other ways in which there are similarities between tax and copyright policy, and look at how politicians and other people treat each.

Will governments protect all property rights from all threats?

While the federal Copyright bill is on the order paper and likely to be tabled Thursday, it is not the only issue currently under discussion where people are concerned about IT property rights. Many people have expressed concern with how newer machines shipped with Microsoft Windows may be unable to boot alternative operating systems. Given the confusion over how the property rights of computer hardware owners are adversely impacted by so-called “Copyright” legislation, discussing this related issue may help clarify.

Science and Technology minister

A Hill Times article discussing the new cabinet included the following:

Insiders said last week as well that Industry Canada may be split into two departments, one focused on innovation and science and technology and the other remaining Industry, making way for a full Science and Technology minister, rather than a secretary of state

My first thought: about time.

Census 2011 comments

The last section of the short-form online census (Step F) asks for comments, and I added the following:

I wish the long form was still mandatory, and that the results of this census would be more statistically valid.

I am happy to see this online census didn't require any unverified software to be downloaded, including Java code, and worked with standard browsers available on all platforms (including my secure Linux desktop).

While the origins of the first comment is likely obvious, the second part of the comment was in relation to problems that happened with the 2006 online census.

Falling off the edge of a flat world?

Professor Birgitte Andersen has posted a very interesting response to old-economy industry association critique of studies she has authored.

While focused on copyright, I found the section talking about evidence based policy making vs "intuition" to be useful for all political discussions.

Of course intuition has its place, e.g. for short-cuts or if we do not have concrete evidence to rely on. However, if we are unable or unwilling to free our minds, ‘intuition’ can also imprison our thought and lead to prejudice and ignorance.

For example, although the world seems to be flat (by pure intuition), then falling off the edge of a flat world is not among my fears! Similarly, although it seems that the sun rotates around the Earth (by pure intuition), then research has proven that it is the other way around. However, we shall not forget that after Galileo announced these research results, which were counter-intuitive for the general public and the belief of the Catholic Church, he was forced to retire as a scientist and live in house arrest.

Michael Geist's Digital Economy Strategy Consultation submission

Michael Geist has published his submission online which touches many different areas. I'm in full agreement with this submission.

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