Randy Bachman this weekend at Orchestra London’s Red Hot Weekends

Randy Bachman (Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive) performs with Orchestra London this Friday and Saturday night in his first ever performance with an orchestra.

More info is in James Reaney’s column where he says:

A new project, Bachman’s Symphonic Overdrive has hits from The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive such as Let it Ride, These Eyes, American Woman (Bossa Nova), You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Taking Care of Business and more.

James quotes Randy as saying “It’s going to be an amazing spectacle.”

I’m looking forward to the concert.

Tickets are available from Orchestra London online or by calling the box office at (519) 679-8778.

(Disclosure – I’m on the Orchestra London Board)

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

The goal of Cyber Security Awareness Month is to remind us to guard against cyber threats.  The Canadian Government getcybersafe website has resources to describe the risks and suggest ways to protect against things such as cyberbullying, scams and fraud.  It covers both personal and corporate risks for smartphones, social networking, online banking, online shopping, and more.  It also explains the differences between common threats such as pharming, phishing, and spoofing.

If you’ve ever wondered how many people actually fall for what appear to be blatant phishing attempts, take a look at this infographic that shows that even a very small percentage of phishing success translates into significant actual numbers.


Cross posted to Slaw



Annual IT.CAN Conference October 20-21

The annual IT.CAN conference is in Montreal two weeks from now. I find the IT.CAN conferences are consistently high quality, and the best continuing legal education option for lawyers practicing in the tech space.  The fall conference has a good mix of practical updates and thought provoking forward looking issues. Any lawyer practicing IT law should check it out.

Details from IT.CAN:

The Eighteenth Annual Canadian Information Technology Law Association (“IT.CAN”) Conference will be held in Montreal, October 20-21, 2014. For the full conference brochure including registration details, please visit the website at www.it-can.ca or go to:  http://www.it-can.ca/wp-content/uploads/ConfBroch14.pdf

If you have any questions about the program please contact Lisa Ptack, IT.CAN Executive Director at lisa.ptack@rogers.com


CASL Video Series


I’m taking part in a 4 part video series about CASL that deals with both Canadian and American perspectives on the anti-spam act. Here are the details:
How To Avoid The CASL Right HookLet’s face it – a lot of Canadians don’t know all the facts about the new Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL)… and its evolving. But what you don’t know – CAN hurt you.Helping us learn more about CASL and how to prepare for it, is Canadian lawyer, +David Canton focusing on CASL, and American lawyer, Sean A. Moynihan, focusing on American Marketing. They’ll be informing, discussing and weighing in on the facts about this new law and how it opens to the doors to Class Action suits that can shut down your business – even businesses outside of Canada.

Round 1:  David informs us about CASL and recent, new developments – Sean weighs in

Round 2:  Sean gives us “The American Perspective” – David weighs in

Round 3:  Things That Will Catch You Off Guard – Social Media & Other Surprises

Round 4:  Best Practices – How To Win – Sean and David share winning strategies with us

Celebrating Small Business Owners Month!

Sign up for this complimentary, 30 minute, 4 part series, open to viewers on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, taking place on October 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd at PST: 1:00 p.m.  /  MST: 2:00 p.m.  /  CST: 3:00 p.m.  /  EST: 4:00 p.m. (check your timezone here: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/).

Sign in early and post your questions ahead of time and we’ll see if David and Sean can answer them.  If you miss a Show – we’ve got you covered, you can view and ask questions even after the “Live” Show.

Click here to register: http://goo.gl/asZ229

Share with anyone who has questions or concerns about CASL

See you there!

#casl   #smallbusiness   #antispam   #ns

Businesses relying more on mobile – is Blackberry still in the game?

A BMO poll released today shows the unsurprising result that the business world is becoming more reliant on mobile technology.

Lawyers were early adopters of Blackberries, for which email was the killer app.  At our firm there are only a handful of lawyers still using Blackberries.  The rest of us are split between iPhones and Android.  While Windows phones are technically as good as the others, they just can’t seem to gain ground.


Blackberry has not given up, though.  It just launched a new phone called the Passport.  Blackberry has moved from touting email as its killer feature to touting productivity and security as its killer features.  The main focus is clearly on the business market.

Only time will tell whether Blackberry can claw back market share.

Cross posted to Slaw.


Will a smartwatch be on your wrist? 10 things to ponder.

As expected, Apple introduced its Apple Watch (not iWatch) last week with great fanfare. It is actually not a single watch, but a series of watches in 2 sizes and 3 models with various types of bands.  It will be available “early 2015″.

Of course only those with iPhones can use an Apple Watch.  Those with Android phones will use one of the options running Android Wear.

The reaction to the smartwatch phenomenon has been interesting.  Traditional watch manufacturers are being dismissive about it – which  sounds a lot like how Rim (Blackberry) dismissed the iPhone when it first came out.

Things to ponder about the smartwatch market include:

  • How many people will value the advantage of not having to pull out a phone so often that they will want a smartwatch?
  • Will those who no longer wear watches because they use their phone for the time start wearing watches again?
  • Will it hurt sales of traditional watches?
  • How many traditional watch manufacturers will sell their own smartwatch versions?
  • Will people want to spend hundreds of dollars on a watch that has a far shorter life span than a traditional watch?
  • Will style trump functionality? Smartphone physical differences are subtle – but watches come in many shapes and sizes.  There has been a lot of comment on square vs round, for example.
  • Apple announced its watch with an unusually large lead time – perhaps in part to steal the thunder of the various Android Wear watches.  Will Android Wear be updated by the time the Apple Watch comes up in ways that make it more compelling?
  • The type of phone one has will dictate the Apple watch vs Android Wear watch choice.  But will some choose or change their smartphone preference based on watch choice?
  • Will the large size of a smartwatch (some might be a challenge to put tour shirt sleeve over it, for example) be a negative?
  • How much better will smartwatches become as they mature over the next few years?

I definitely want one – I’m in the Android camp – the only issue is which one, and can I hold out long enough for 2nd gen improvements?

Cross-posted to Slaw


CASL software provisions

CASL – the Canadian anti-spam legislation – contains provisions that require certain disclosure and permission requirements on the installation of software that does certain things, or when software does certain things.  This aspect of CASL has been overshadowed by the anti-spam provisions, in part because the software provisions are not in effect until January 15, 2015.

Unfortunately these software provisions are not easy to comprehend or apply in practice. There is a lot of uncertainty around their interpretation.  And IMHO they are going to cause far more harm than good.  There is a real danger that some software creators will simply not offer their products in Canada to avoid the pain of complying with CASL.

Yesterday CRTC and Industry Canada representatives were at a Canadian IT Law Association teleconference to collect questions from the IT bar to help them prepare FAQ’s or guides to the CASL software provisions.  That guidance should be a big help to understanding the legislation.

Unfortunately they did not give us any hints at all on their thoughts on interpretation.  They are aiming to publish their material in November or December, which, as one participant commented, is far too late.  Compliance will be more complicated than tweaking a EULA.  Software vendors will require time to create new processes and verbiage to comply.   Then back that up through an effective lost 2 weeks over the holidays, and the time it will take to digest and advise clients on what they have to do….

Cross-posted to Slaw


Smartwatch week

The IFA – the European equivalent of the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show – starts Friday – although manufacturers have already started pre-show press conferences.   A wide range of consumer electronics and appliances will be on display.  The tech press will have extensive coverage, including CNET and engadget.

Smartwatches will be prominent.  With Google’s recent launch of its Android Wear smartwatch operating system, several new smart watches are being announced.  Some are updates of existing models, and some are new.  Examples include the Asus ZenWatch and the Sony SmartWatch 3.  Not to be outdone, Apple is expected to announce the iWatch at its own event Sept 9.

I want one – but am not quite sure yet which one. I’ll be watching the specs, prices, launch dates and reviews. Will this be the year that smartwatches take off?  Is a smartwatch in your future?


Cross posted to Slaw


If you think our red tape is bad…

We often get frustrated with seemingly unnecessary red tape and arbitrary rules – but every once in a while we run across requirements from other countries that are mind boggling.  For those who have never encountered this, it goes something like this.

A government agency or business in a country your client does business in requires a copy of a document.  If they were here, they may not need that document in the first place, but even if they do it would be a simple manner of scanning and emailing a pdf.

But no, they require a notarial copy – still simple enough.  Then they say the document needs to have a corporate seal as well.  Explaining that most Canadian companies don’t have corporate seals because they have not been required here for decades doesn’t help – its easier and cheaper to just buy a corporate seal.

But they won’t accept a notarial copy on its own, it has to be consularized, meaning the document has to go to that country’s embassy or consulate to be vetted and stamped or formalized in some way.  So you look up the process for that on the consulate web site and see that they have very specific rules about things such as what time of day they will accept documents, what ID has to be provided by the requesting person, and the need to bind the document together in a way that avoids substitution.  It may suggest methods such as sealing wax or an eyelet.  No staples allowed.  So the firm gets canvassed to see if there exists anywhere an eyelet/rivet tool that some lawyers used decades ago to fasten wills together. That fails, so you end up sending the document to a print shop to be bound.

Before the bound document goes to the consulate, it has to go to the provincial Ministry of Government Services so they can sign the document to confirm that the notary who signed it is really a notary.   Then it goes to the consulate where they add their official seal for a modest fee.

But we are still not done.  All of this is in English, so you have to send it to be translated by a certified translation agency or law firm in the country it is going to.

Then it can go to whomever requested it.

By the time this is all done, that document copy has been certified/stamped/sealed by: originating company, notary, provincial official, consulate, official translator.

The task that would have taken 5 minutes here has stretched into hours of work, various fees, and an elapsed time that might be measured in weeks.

Cross posted to Slaw


CASL-cure provides a CASL solution

Perhaps the most difficult compliance challenge arising from CASL – the new Canadian anti-spam law – is how to deal with one-off emails sent by individual employees.  A new online service called CASL-cure provides an outbound email filter solution to this problem.

CASL requires either express consent, or one of a complex series of implied consents, before you can send email that is even slightly promotional in nature.  Just 1 non-compliant email sent by 1 employee can put a business at risk for significant sanctions, including multi-million dollar fines, personal director and officer liability, and starting in 2017 private rights of action including class action suits.  The onus is on the sender to prove compliance, so records must be kept to show how and when express consent was obtained, or how the recipient fits into an implied consent category.  The email itself must contain specified contact info and an unsubscribe mechanism.

That is a lot to expect any employee to understand, let alone comply with, regardless of how much training they get.

CASL-cure solves this challenge in two ways.  First, it automatically adds CASL compliant contact information and an unsubscribe mechanism to every email.  Second, it compares the outbound email addresses to a whitelist of emails that have consent.  If it detects an address that is not listed, it holds the email and sends a reply to the sender saying that the intended recipient is not on the CASL approved list, and offers a menu that the sender can use to enter the details of the nature of the consent.  Once the sender completes that information, that consent detail is added to the whitelist and the email is released.

This solution significantly reduces the risk of sending non-compliant emails.  And since it records how and who added the consent details to the database, it is easy for the business to deal with an employee who tries to cheat the system.  It also helps immensely with a defense under CASL if an investigation results from a complaint.  First, because the system records consent details.  Second, if a non-compliant email does get through for some reason, such as an employee entering false information, it provides a due-diligence defense showing that the business did as much as it possibly could to prevent a violation.

Transparency disclosure – the providers of CASL-cure are clients of mine.