Labour Arbitration: It is not always practical to keep all of our information within our borders.
London Free Press – July 13, 2009
By David Canton
(David Canton is a business lawyer and trade-mark agent with a practice focusing on technology issues and technology companies.)
A labour arbitrator recently considered whether Lakehead University’s switch to Google mail violated the faculty collective agreement. The university stated that the main reason for the switch to Google was because of the growing cost and effort of having an internal e-mail system. It was first university in Canada to outsource its e-mail service to a private company such as Google or Microsoft.
This dispute between the university and its faculty association arose from the discrepancy between the university’s policy and the Google terms of service regarding privacy and access.
The association approved the university policy that stated that their electronic mail privacy would be compromised only on consent or in limited circumstances. The Google policy was more liberal than the university policy. The discrepancy led the association to seek protection under the collective agreement.
The association took the position that by switching to Google, the university violated the rights to privacy and academic freedom of its members.
A critical issue with Google mail was that Google is a corporate entity based in the United States and uses servers in the U.S. Under the Patriot Act, Protect America Act, and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Washington has the power to monitor and intercept e-mails within its jurisdiction no matter the person’s nationality.
The arbitrator dismissed the faculty association grievance. The arbitrator stated that while the collective agreement provided that “members have a right to privacy in their personal and professional communications and files, whether on paper or in electronic form,” it did not define the scope of the right to privacy.
The arbitrator also pointed out that the faculty members did not have to use the Google e-mail service. There were faculty members using other systems for their school e-mail accounts.
The arbitrator pointed out that during a discussion of e-mail privacy at the university’s Senate before the Google system was introduced, Michael Pawlowski, a representative of the university’s board of directors, said, “One should consider e-mail communications to be as private as words on a postcard.”
The decision in this case was based on particular wording in the faculty agreement, so it does not have great precedent value. But it illustrates the controversy over foreign governments’ ability to get access to private e-mail and other electronic information.
It is not always practical to keep all of our information within our borders. It is more practical, for example, for the hosting of a customer database, than it is for e-mail providers or web commerce.
The basic question is: Just how serious is this risk? Are the odds of it happening so slim that in practice it doesn’t really matter, or are we giving up something fundamental?
Queen s University Saves Space with Vaddio Tracking System
Vaddio TrackVIEW System installed in Queen s University Virtualization Project
July 15, 2009
DMN Newswire–2009-7-15–MINNEAPOLIS, MN (July 15, 2009)
Vaddio, the leading manufacturer and OEM distributor of specialty PTZ cameras and high-end camera control systems, equipped Canadian-based Applied Electronics with a TrackVIEW automated camera tracking system to record class lectures and presentations for remote viewing at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Investigate alternatives in curriculum delivery outside the traditional brick and mortar lecture theatre classroom.
Queen’s University Principal, Dr. Thomas R. Williams, created several different taskforces throughout the university with the direction to explore, review and make preliminary recommendations on key issues facing the university, both in short term and long term. One of these taskforces focused on alternatives in curriculum delivery outside of the classroom. Video streaming would allow students to access classes from another room on campus or even from their own living room, eliminating the need for more classroom space. “We were looking for a solution that would help automate the capturing of lectures and presentations,” explained Luc Wauters, Analyst, ITServices at Queen’s University, who specializes in Teaching & Learning Support. “We needed a scalable solution that was worry free and did not necessarily require a camera operator.”
With the guidance of Wauters, Vaddio’s TrackVIEW system was installed in the Faculty and Staff Learning Facility in Mackintosh-Corry Hall, a 65-seat tiered lecture theatre. TrackVIEW is a presenter-controlled camera system that incorporates both monitor-based tracking and camera preset tracking in one package.
Each TrackVIEW system installed includes two Sony EVI-D70s (one for reference, one for tracking), a TrackVIEW Controller with built-in EZCamera Cable System, a Vaddio IR Remote Commander, power supply, a dual camera mount, rack ears and system setup software. The systems are set up with two StepVIEW mats, used as preset triggers allowing the presenter to stay on-camera while walking between preset camera shots. The StepVIEW mats come in a rubberized, non-slip exposed auto locator mat for permanent installation.
TrackVIEW doesn’t eliminate the option of using computers, whiteboards or document cameras – rather it complements them using different preset trigger options.
”The camera is completely unobtrusive” says Nancy Owen, Coordinator, Support Services, ITServices, Queen’s University. “It doesn’t blink. It doesn’t buzz and you can focus on your presentation while being oblivious to the technology. All in all, it provides a very nice lecture package.”
Vaddio is the leading manufacturer and OEM distributor of specialty PTZ cameras and high-end camera control systems used in the broadcasting, audio/visual and videoconferencing industry. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Vaddio also has operations throughout the Americas, as well as sales and support partners throughout the world. More information can be found on the Vaddio website, http://www.vaddio.com or at (800) 572.2011.
About Applied Electronics:
Applied Electronics Limited (AEL) is Canada�??s leading designer, supplier and integrator of Audio/Visual, Broadcast and Post Production systems and technology. AEL provides technical consultation, design, supply, integration, service & support of all audio/visual system components for: executive boardrooms, video conferencing facilities, training rooms, corporate auditoriums, legislative/council chambers, control centers, and public display environments. AEL is headquartered in Toronto and operates offices in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The company was founded in 1958 and over 51 years later, it is Canada’s largest and most renowned audio/visual and broadcast solutions provider. For more information, please visit http://www.appliedelectronics.com