Tech Law news 8 April 2010

Global privacy regime mooted

New Zealand’s privacy commissioner, Marie Shroff,  has suggested that a United Nations treaty may be required to protect privacy.  She said:

“The reason for this is [a global regime] would bring legal certainty… We have to look at whether and how we can regulate to provide certainty for businesses and protections for individual citizens”

Legal certainty is a very good thing though as I said the other day, there is unlikely to be an “imposed” global regime, and Ms Shroff denied the proposal would be “some sort of a bureaucratic initiative to impose more regulation on business”. The continued development of international guidelines (also suggested by Ms Shroff), co-ordinated enforcement, and even UNCITRAL-type “model law” is more likely here (a TRIPS-like treaty could be a possibility). New Zealand’s “privacy principles” approach works well, and the Privacy Commissioner plays a good and efficient domestic role – could the New Zealand regime be a model template? Standards would also assist and reinforce the nascent “self-regulation” by the industry, such as the Digital Due Process Coalition launched recently.

New Zealand TV listings copyright row

Kiwiblog has commented on Sky TV’s recent attempts to prevent a software developer from distributing software that could be configured to copy its TV listing, claiming their listings are protected by copyright (more on this another day).

Net nuetrality setback

A US court has ruled that the Federal Communicationc Commission does not have the authority to stop an ISP prioritising traffic, meaning that the ISP can take steps such as choking file-sharing traffic. Some see this as a major setback for maintaining net nuetrality, while others are more sanguine. For the record, New Zealand does not have any internet nuetrality regulation.