#CyberFLASH: Canadian VPN services could be forced to alert pirating customers

10712553It’s unclear if VPN services will be forced to keep customer records under Canada’s new Copyright Modernization Act.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are legal and until now, believed to be completely unregulated in Canada, making them particularly popular for internet users interested in online privacy protection, accessing geolocked content via streaming services like Netflix and U.S.-only Hulu, or for those interested in more nefarious activities like piracy-focused Torrent downloading or criminal activity.

However, new legislation, which went into effect on Jan. 1, doesn’t clearly state whether Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act pertains to VPN platforms in Bill C-11’s section 41.25 (a). An integral aspect of the new law requires internet service providers (ISPs) to relay copyright infringement allegations to customers (an act that has already been occurring for years), and to also keep a record of these allegations for six months in case the copyright holder makes the decision to take legal action.

On a basic level, a VPN is a subscription-based service that encapsulates and encrypts a user’s internet data transmissions, moving their web activity through a protected tunnel in order to create a private and secure environment for the user.

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