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Social Media and Privacy Law


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Presentation at the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) 5th Annual Conference.

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Social Media and Privacy Law

  1. 1. Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL), Annual Fall Conference 2011, November 12, 2011 Osgoode Professional Development Centre, 1 Dundas St. W, 26th Floor Social Media and Privacy Law Omar Ha-Redeye Barrister & Solicitor
  2. 2. <ul><li>1) Rules of Professional Conduct </li></ul><ul><li>2) Reputation Management Law </li></ul>
  3. 3. Rule 2.03 - Confidentiality
  4. 5. Rule 3.01(1-2) – Marketing and Advertising
  5. 7. Rule 3.03(1) - Specialists
  6. 8. Rule 4.05 - Jurors <ul><li>. </li></ul>
  7. 9. Rule 4.06 – Administration of Justice
  8. 10. Rule 6.01 - Integrity
  9. 11. Marc Prensky. Digital Natives Digital Immigrant. On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001),%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf Rule 6.03 - Civility
  10. 13. Rule 6.03 - Relationship to Others Rule 6.06 – Public Statements
  11. 14. Reputation Management Law
  12. 17. Online Reputation Management Plan
  13. 18. Pre-Litigation Options <ul><li>Warning letter </li></ul><ul><li>Notice (and takedown) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>notice and notice in Canada </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Just ask nicely </li></ul>
  14. 19. Cease and Desist Letters <ul><li>Think carefully about whether to send it </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the response </li></ul><ul><li>Stick to the facts </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t threaten to sue  </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t set a compliance deadline or written response </li></ul><ul><li>Adapted from D.C. Toedt III, Cease-and-desist letters: Five ways to keep your client and yourself from looking foolish, June 29, 2010 </li></ul>
  15. 20. Anonymity is a Myth <ul><li>R. v. Cuttell , 2009 ONCJ 471 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 rd Party custody of confidential information does not automatically extinguish any reasonable expectation of privacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rights reserved by the third-party vis-a-vis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cohen v. Google, Inc., Index No. 100012/09 (N.Y. Cty. Aug. 17, 2009) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skanks in NYC (Blogspot) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pre-action disclosure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revealed an acquaintance behind postings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Swartz v. Does, 6 th circuit, Tennessee </li></ul><ul><ul><li>P subpoena Google </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>P entitled to discover identity of anonymous blogger </li></ul></ul>
  16. 21. Different Approaches to Anonymity <ul><li>York University v. Bell Canada Enterprises , 2009 CanLII 46447 (ON S.C.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of pre-action discovery mechanism called a Norwich order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy interest v. interests of justice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limited for specific purposes, not absolute </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy interests overridden by s. 7(3)(c) of PIPEDA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Warman v. Wilkins-Fournier , 2009 CanLII 14054 (ON S.C.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>disclosure provisions of R 76.03 of the Rules of Civil Procedure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disclosure balanced with freedom of expression interests </li></ul></ul>Matthew Nied, Unmasking Anonymous Defendants in Internet Defamation Cases: Recent Developments and Unresolved Issues, Canadian Privacy Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 3, February 2011
  17. 22. Vigna v. Levant , 2010 ONSC 6308 <ul><li>P a lawyer with Canadian Human Rights Commission </li></ul><ul><li>Sued Ezra Levant, lawyer and political activist, for blog posts on his site </li></ul><ul><li>Awarded $25,000 in damages, and ordered defamatory posts removed </li></ul><ul><li>costs decision awarded over $32,500 </li></ul>
  18. 23. Reconsidering Damages in Online Defamation <ul><li>Barrick Gold Corp. v. Lopehandia (2004), 71 O.R. (3d) 416 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At Trial: D came across as a rant, not taken seriously </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CA: Internet is &quot;instantaneous,&quot; &quot;borderless,&quot; and &quot;far-reaching“, has &quot;tremendous power to harm reputation“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased compensatory damages from $15,000 to $75,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymity increased risk of it being believed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Matthew Nied, Damage Awards in Internet Defamation Cases: Reassessing Assumptions About the Credibility of Online Speech. Alberta Law Review, October, 2010. </li></ul>
  19. 24. Reputation Damage is Real <ul><li>Social science evidence is compelling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social media and online reputation has an impact in the offline world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use of marketing studies, consumer surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Robert J. Currie. The Bounds of the Permissible: Using &quot;Cultural Evidence&quot; in Civil Jury Cases. Canadian Journal of Law and Society 20.1 (2005) 75-86 </li></ul><ul><li>Monahan, John and Walker, Laurens “Social Authority: Obtaining, Evaluating and Establishing Social Science in Law” (1986) 134(3) University of Pennsylvania Law Review 477 - 518. </li></ul><ul><li>R. v. Butler , 1992 CanLII 124 (S.C.C.) </li></ul><ul><li>Irwin Toy Ltd. v. A.G. Que. , 1989 CanLII 87 (S.C.C.) </li></ul>
  20. 25. Credibility Gives Higher Damages <ul><li>Courts look to impact on readers, credibility of the source </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater likelihood of suffering reputational harm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Should they look at SEO, Google Rankings, web traffic? </li></ul><ul><li>Dinyer-Fraser v. Laurentian Bank of Canada , 2005 BCSC 225, 40 B.C.L.R. (4th) 39 </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate Co. Ltd. Husbands (1969), 5 Barb. L.R. 113 at 124 (C.A.) </li></ul>
  21. 26. Crookes  v.  Newton , 2011 SCC 47 <ul><li>Abella (majority): recognized hyperlinks are a vital tool for distributing information online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2/6 of majority have retired </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open to further refinement of republication rule </li></ul></ul><ul><li>McLachlin/Fish (concurring): B.C. test looking at surrounding words adopting/endorsing defamatory content </li></ul><ul><li>Deschamps: Hyperlinks can still be a publication; contextual test looking at if information brought to attention of readers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deep/shallow links, evidence of 3 rd parties receiving and understanding it </li></ul></ul>
  22. 27. Intermediary Liability?
  23. 28. Online Reputation Management Plan
  24. 29. Take Home Messages <ul><li>Create your own personal website </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Firm profile page is not enough </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Protect your name on all major social media platforms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t necessarily have to use them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stay informed through legal publications, blogs, RSS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eventually get engaged in the online community </li></ul></ul>
  25. 30. Contact <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@omarharedeye </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>!/TO.Lawyer </li></ul>