University of Ottawa professor named to Electronic Frontier Foundation advisory board

University of Ottawa law professor and frequent Canadian digital rights activist Michael Geist has been named to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s advisory board.

The EFF is an American-based civil liberties group specializing in rights questions raised by new technology.

Formed in 1990, their earliest legal victory was having the American courts recognize that e-mail should be subject to the same privacy laws as phone calls.

Since then, the group has taken on a number of technological issues, keeping on an international watch on the legal aspect of technology and frequently coming to the defence of citizens who the group feels have unfairly landed in legal trouble due to their use of technology.

Much work by the group in recent years has focussed on copyright, with the RIAA and other artist groups out suing file sharers.

While Geist has been a longtime digital activist, he gained national attention in Canada for his Fair Copyright for Canada grassroots movement, putting pressure on the Government of Canada to rewrite Bill C-61 (referred to as the Canadian Digital Millenium Copyright Act) to be more consumer friendly.

The bill died when a snap election was called by the ruling Conservative party in the fall of 2008.