#CyberFLASH: Canada needs cyberbullying laws that allow for non-criminal solutions: professor

keyboardCanada needs cyberbullying laws that curb unwanted sharing of sexual pictures without always requiring police investigations, a law professor said Tuesday.

Nova Scotia had a Cyber Safety Act – the first in Canada – from the fall of 2013 until the legislation was struck down by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia near the end of 2015, when a judge ruled that it infringed on charter rights of freedom of expression. 

During a meeting of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law in Halifax, several experts said that since the law was struck down, victims of online harassment have to turn either to complicated police investigations or expensive civil court suits.

Wayne MacKay, who teaches human rights law at Dalhousie University, said in an interview he’s eager for the province to follow up on a promise to amend and reintroduce its cyberbullying law and bring an investigative unit back into action.

He says the new law should allow for informal requests to swiftly take down offensive words and images, and allow for civil court actions that would hold people accountable for distributing intimate images.

“I think there’s some degree of urgency,” said the former chair of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying, during an interview after a seminar at the conference.

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#CyberFLASH: Halifax Lawyer To Launch Charter Case Challenge Of Cyber-Safety Act

Digital Life Tech Tips Double Layer PasswordsA Halifax lawyer is getting ready to challenge the Cyber-Safety Act in a Nova Scotia courtroom next week.

David Fraser, an Internet privacy lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Halifax says the law violates a Canadians freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The law is so broad that it includes anything that is done electronically that could hurt somebody’s self-esteem, that could harm their reputation and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not,” Fraser said.

Fraser is currently representing a client who is being charged under the Cyber-Safety Act after posting on social media about a former business partner.

The business partner alleged cyber bullying and obtained a Cyber-Safety order from a justice of the peace. Fraser says his client’s actions are not cyber bullying under the legislation and the order should never have been issued in the first place.

Act “jammed” through legislature

“We’re also arguing that the cyber bullying legislation, if it’s applied in a case like this, is actually not constitutional. it’s contrary to the freedom of expression guaranteed in the charter that allows you to say whatever you want to say, subject to reasonable limitations imposed by law.”

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#CyberFLASH: Reddit moderator and ‘doxing’ victim says police reaction lacklustre

typing-image-genericA Halifax man who says he was harassed and doxed on a local internet message board says he’s had a “frustrating” time trying to get authorities to investigate, even though Nova Scotia has laws against it.

Doxing — a shorthand for the act of dropping or publicizing documents — is the practice of posting a person’s personal information online, often against a person’s wishes.

Blake Hebb is a moderator on the popular online forum Reddit, where he says a recent thread about the upcoming federal election got out of control. The political escalated to the personal when Hebb said a user posted Hebb’s full name and the street he lived on.

“There are very few rules Reddit as an entity enforces, but one of the main ones is don’t post personal information,” says Hebb.

The user was banned from Reddit, but opened new accounts — 36 of them in all.

“It was this game of whack-a-mole,” Hebb said. “I’m sure a person could have better hobbies.”

The user continued to taunt Hebb and posted his full name, date of birth, email address, mailing address and phone number.

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