Electronic Frontier Canada
- Activities -

As Canada's premier organization devoted to preserving civil liberties in cyberspace, Electronic Frontier Canada pursues many activities, some public and some "behind-the-scenes".

Here are just a few of our activities:

Education

One of our main focuses is education. For example, EFC was a co-sponsor of the conference "Free Speech and Privacy in the Electronic Age", which took place at the University of Waterloo in November 1994. The Honourable Mr. Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada was the keynote speaker at this major event, which attracted attendees from Canada and around the world.

We write letters to the editor and opinion pieces for on-line magazines and Canadian newspapers, such as an article about anti-Internet hysteria by Jeffrey Shallit that appeared in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. We write academic papers and books, such as The Social Impact of Computers (Academic Press, 1997), by Richard Rosenberg, and the tremendously popular Canadian Internet Handbook, by Jim Carroll, one of EFC's supporting members. We also teach courses, such as Computer, Ethics, and Public Policy, taught by David Jones at McMaster University

Another important facet of our educational activities is our world-wide-web archives, gopher archives, and electronic mailing lists, efc-talk, efc-announce, and efc-media. Here you will find a large collection of resources, including a media archive, legal cases, and intellectual freedom statements.

Finally, EFC directors, members, and volunteers travel to attend conferences and give speeches that promote EFC's views on privacy, free speech, and other important issues.

Media Liaison

EFC is frequently contacted for interviews by newspaper and magazine reporters seeking comment on cyberspace-related issues. We have also made many appearances on Canadian radio and television, such as Canada as a Surveillance Society - The Mondex Scenario, which aired on CBC-TV's National Magazine.

Important issues may also result in widely disseminated EFC press releases, formulated by the Board of Directors, in consultation with our members through our Policy Coordinator.

Government Liaison

EFC is frequently consulted by government agencies seeking our expert opinion on cyberspace-related issues. For example, recently EFC consulted in great detail with Industry Canada regarding encryption policy; the result was our development of the following position paper on cryptography.

Information Queries

EFC answers dozens of electronic queries per month. Queries typically involve existing Canadian law and the Internet, rights and responsibilities of service providers, etc. Queries come from a wide variety of sources, from high-school students preparing essays to reporters and lawyers seeking assistance. Unfortunately, due to the volume of queries received, EFC cannot always respond to each on an individual basis.

Aid to Individuals

On occasion, EFC aids individuals whose cases involve significant cyberspaces issues. If the case falls under EFC's mandate (application of the Charter to electronic media), EFC may decide to take any one of a number of different actions. For example, EFC may attempt to intercede on behalf of the individual with corporate, public, university, or government officials, suggest legal referrals, or provide expert testimony in court. For example, EFC gave assistance to Carol Walberg, a University of Guelph student who faced possible expulsion, simply because she moderated a "Tasteless Jokes" conference on a campus computer system. Guelph's humour police were forced to drop their case. More recently, David Jones, EFC's President, was called as an expert witness in a case before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland.

Aid to Groups

EFC coordinates with Canadian and international organizations whose goals are consistent with EFC's, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA). Electronic Frontier Canada is also a founding member-organization of the Global Internet Liberty Coalition (GILC).

On rare occasions, EFC makes small financial donations to other groups whose goals are consistent with EFC's. In the past, a small donation has been made, for example, to the Nizkor Project, an electronic archive of material designed to counter the misinformation of Holocaust deniers.

Legal Action

On occasion, EFC may take legal action to fight unjust laws or actions. For example, we successfully forced Bell Canada to withdraw their attempt to trademark the phrase "The Net" in 1995. Such actions are often expensive, though, and therefore must be used with discretion.

Fun Stuff

Electronic Frontier Canada is a serious organization, but sometimes we like to have some fun. In the summer of 1996, we printed up a bunch of cool T-shirts and sent a dozen volunteers to staff an information / fund-raising booth at EdenFest, a huge outdoor rock festival held near Toronto.

We have also been known to pull a few humourous pranks just to help to get our message across, such at the controversial (and fictitious) "V-barcode" and the "Canadian Internet Licensing Board".

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So what are you waiting for? Join EFC today!