PAB2010 speaker profile: Tamir Israel

In December 2009, the Canadian Supreme Court made a ruling which has been dubbed “Responsible Communication.” That ruling offers libel protections for journalists and bloggers communicate responsibly — the defense will be largely based on the quality of the information being questioned and the steps taken by the “reporter” to verify the information. It would seem the ruling has put Canada on the cutting edge for making an official recognition of “bloggers”.

To spread the word about this groundbreaking ruling and how it affects the social media community in Canada, we invited Tamir Israel to speak at PAB2010. And he accepted, offering to deliver the session Communicating Responsibly: the shifting legal landscape for social media creators.

Tamir is a technology lawyer on staff with the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa. His research and advocacy focuses on issues relating to privacy, internet traffic management, intellectual property, intermediary liability, spam, e-commerce and electronic rights generally. In carrying out this advocacy, he has made written and oral submissions to parliament as well as to various judicial and quasi-judicial bodies including the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Ontario Divisional Court, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission and others.

We put Tamir to the greatest cross examination of his legal career to date with five very important questions. Being a good lawyer, he combined the answers to some of the questions.

What is your best memory of creating media for other people to enjoy?

While I’m relatively new to the ‘creating media’ field, we have had a chance to work on a few short video clips made with the intent of explaining legal issues to the public. What I have enjoyed most (so far) of these activities is the attempt to capture legal concepts in more creative and interactive formats that will (hopefully!) get people’s attention.

Which media creator has been most inspiring to you and why?
What do you think is the most important consideration to media relevance?

To me, what makes media and particularly social media most relevant today is the increasing amount of information out there and the increasing sophistication of that information. The Internet is an incredibly empowering utility, but it also means there is far more information to be processed by everyone. Social media creators are necessary if that vast amount of information is to be truly accessible. Coming from that perspective, for me, truly relevant media aimed at information (as opposed to social media aimed at pure entertainment – which I take as a different category altogether) should be engaging, entertaining, and should also capable of conveying the essence of important ideas.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
How do you hope your PAB2010 session will change the way people think and/or act?

I’m less hoping to change the way people think and/or act and more hoping for an informational exchange and an interesting discussion. The object of my talk is a rapidly evolving area of law that threatens to evolve in a manner that is out of touch with the realities of social media. It is my hope to inform social media creators of this potential threat and to inform myself on how it what the impacts of such changes could be.

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