Canada Dashboard Digest

Geist: Court Oversight Key

PRIVACY LAW

August 5, 2011

In the Ottawa Citizen, Internet law expert Michael Geist discusses last week's Ontario Superior Court decision in the case of a former mayor. The court ruled not to force exposure of the identities of anonymous posters to a website's chat forum who, the plaintiff claimed, defamed her. Geist discusses the court's decision-making process, and says, "Given the court's careful analysis of the speech and privacy issues, the case also provides a reminder of the value of court oversight before ordering the disclosure of personal information. This may be in jeopardy since the government is currently contemplating lawful access legislation that requires such disclosures without court oversight, tilting the balance away from privacy and creating a potential chill for those speaking out online."

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